winter things

This winter I'm teaching Calculus 2 at UD. Our school does something a little weird (at least it was new to me). After Christmas break, there's a short winter semester. Students can take a 5 week class in January and the first week of February, kind of like a summer class. The regular spring semester won't start until the 2nd week of February. I think it's pretty strange, since students who only take classes in the normal semesters basically have 7 weeks off for Christmas break. Not that I'd complain if I were them.

Anyway, that's how I find myself teaching a 4-credit class in 5 weeks. I haven't taught Calc 2 in a long time (actually I've only been a TA for it, never the instructor...) so it's been fun remembering all that stuff. It always surprises me how much sense it makes when I come back to it. It's all so much clearer than when I was a student. It's very challenging to try to help people understand it better than I did when I learned it, but that's usually my goal. I try to teach things in a logical structured way (being naturally meticulous and obsessive helps, though it takes a long time) and so far most of my students are doing better than I expected. Calc 2 is definitely a hard class and I'm not taking it easy on them.

I've learned something a little odd since I left ORU. The little dinky school I came from actually had a more difficult standard in our math classes than at the big schools I've taught at. We learned quite a few things (and went into more difficult cases on other things) that I'm not supposed to cover here. The selection of higher level classes is obviously bigger at a state school (you can't take grad level classes your senior year of undergrad at a school that doesn't even have a graduate program), but for the undergrad level classes I've been pleasantly surprised to find out that the courses I took at my little Oklahoma school taught me just as thoroughly (and often moreso) than I would have learned at a big state school.

Sharayah and I went to a hockey game this past week (while my students were all studying for their first exam, I was in Philly watching the Flyers :-p). We were in the really high up seats, which was actually really cool. You can see the whole rink from up there, but it's not so far that you can't see the action. I don't really watch any hockey most of the time. I just know the rules from video games from back in the day. The things those guys can do with a stick and a hockey puck are just unreal. I even thought their warm-up was impressive. It looked choreographed how well they all skated around each other, crowded in because each team had 20 guys on the ice, passing and skating and shooting. If you ever get a chance, get the really good (i.e. far away and high up!) seats at a hockey game and show up an hour early to see them warm up.

Yesterday we had 3rd (4th?) Christmas at my parents' house. Then we watched the Broncos handle the Patriots and win a spot in the Super Bowl. I'm looking forward to watching that game. I always think it's fitting when the two top-seeded teams make it to the Super Bowl. It's more exciting that way. Let's hope the better team wins.

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