Sunday, October 01, 2006

Maybe I oughta start a band...

It's Sunday, I've finished grading for the weekend (most of it came from my Calc II sections), and I think I've managed to dodge the cold that threatened, unseasonably, to lay me low.

I talked with Griselda for a while last night. Now that we've finally got a phone that doesn't die after about an hour, she and I can talk for somewhere near as long as we typically do at conferences without the aid of technology.

Her IBL proofs course is going smoothly, it seems, and it sounds like she's had no shortage of "teaching moments." Her students are responding well, including one she mentioned whom she'd had for calculus in an earlier semester, and who had come out of the shell she'd hidden herself in in that previous course. Griselda related a story of this student's performance in a recent class, in which the student, by no means the strongest mathematically in the class, had held her own (rightfully!) against most of the rest of the class in an impromptu on-the-board proof. Huzzah!

Once, current and future teachers who are reading this may recognize such events as the moments that make it worthwhile to be a teacher. I mean, let's face it: there are far more "prestigious," and certainly more lucrative, careers Griselda and I could've gone into. Griselda's actually been out there, in the private sector.

Hmmm...not for me. I feel honored (some would say blessed) that I get to spend my life doing something that I love doing, and that I'm pretty darned good at...and I get paid for it. Imagine!

I've had a number of "motivating moments" this semester: the first day of class got me all fired up, and the problem sessions (where everything just seems to click) never fail to put a smile on my face. Then there are those many "aha!" moments that come as I'm drifting from team to team in the midst of class discussion. This past Friday made me smile: at the end of the day, when we completed the "Choose Your Own Matrix" exercise and we realized that everything we've talked about so far this semester is related to everything else (rank becomes column space dimension becomes number of pivots becomes a criterion for invertibility, which is equivalent to uniqueness of solution, which means that the nullspace has dimension zero, which...), well, that was one of those moments for me. Was it good for you?

I found out that a friend of mine on the West Coast is soon going to go to see the Decemberists perform. Not a bad band, though not exactly my cup of tea. They came through here several months ago, and I almost convinced myself to go catch their act.

The reason? I went to high school with one of the members of the band. Funny, huh?

It's no great secret that I've not kept in touch with the folks I knew in high school; I wasn't particularly close to more than a handful of them, and even those I knew well and cared about somewhat have drifted away over the last dozen years or so. The few folks whose whereabouts I know include a member of a pretty well-known alternative folk band, an economist for the State of Montana, an engineer working for a defense contractor on armor technology, a technician on staff at the Smithsonian, and a cell biologist in Sicily.

Then there's me.

Maybe I oughta start a band.

I've got better things to do, though.

I'm fully aware that "better" is in the mind of the believer.

I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's in the world.

Tomorrow: Taylor series, revisited. Let's dig into vector spaces!

1 comment:

Breezy said...

I enjoy the fact that I got a mention in this blog! wahoo!
In other news, I am glad that you do the line of work that you do :)
Your so much more original that way :)
Keep fighting the good fight!
Math RULES!
hehe