Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I need these emails to stop...or maybe not

I started a post on my math ed blog entitled "I need these emails to stop."  It was a little harsh, so I decided it wasn't best to publish that on a semi-professional platform.  Instead, I'll let my dear friends and family enjoy my cynical ways...

Initial blog posts starts--

I'm teaching two sections of calc this summer at the college (Business Calculus and Calc I).  I'm excited but scared.  It'll be my first time to teach calculus, and for whatever reason I chose to teach two different calc classes...in eight weeks.  I may need to be checked for a pulse afterwards.

While I'm really excited about teaching these courses, I'm starting to get a little worried about some of my students.  I have received an abnormal amount of emails regarding these two classes (especially Business Calc).  According to one of my colleagues, what tends to happen is that senior business majors from the 4-year state schools put off Business Calc as long as possible.  Oftentimes, it's the very last class they have to take.  In fact (according this colleague, at least), some of the students have even walked already but need to pass this class in order to get their diploma.

There's some pressure.

And the pressure is turning into emails.

Fascinating emails.

I'll give you two examples:

Student 1:  Hi, I’m actually going on vacation on the first week of school and will not be able to attend, and was wondering if I would be ok for the rest of the semester if I did not make it the first week.

Can you miss the first week of school of a summer session?  NO!  Would you miss two weeks of school during a normal semester?  Do you think it's ok for ME to vacation during the two months school is in summer session, or would you expect me to vacation before or after?

Student 2:   I'm good with math, always have been, but I took College Algebra 18 years ago.  Do I need to brace myself and make sure I have a tutor available?

18 years!  What counselor in her right mind recommended you take calculus?

That's what I wanted to say in response.  Thankfully, my responses were a bit more calculated (punny!).  I think.

--Initial post ends

I talked some more about how much College Algebra has changed in the past 18 years, which is significantly due to the invention and spread of the graphing calculator, in my opinion.  But I shan't bore you with those details.  The gist:  these students could be a bit demanding this summer.

And then there was light...

I got this email from a student this morning:

Good Morning,

I hope your short summer has treated you well.  First let me just tell you that thanks to your help tutoring me in the math lab last semester in College Algebra I got an 84% on my final and an overall 92% in the class. 

I am enrolled in your course this summer and was wondering if I need to purchase the book or if it will be on My Math Lab.  

Look at that.  She opens with a greeting, has perfect grammar, and even makes me feel good about myself.  What more could you want?

Maybe I don't need the emails to stop after all.

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