First day dispatches; or, New Adventures in Sleep Deprivation

Classes started today:

  • The calculus classes were given a biographical sketch assignment to do and send in by email, using mat 135 bio as the subject line so I could use an email filter in Entourage to route it. So far everybody has actually listened to what I said and actually used mat 135 bio as the subject line, and not something else. That’s a good start. Had I given this assignment to previous classes, I might well have half the class using the subject line "here’s my assignment" or just left blank, or emailing me asking me to repeat what the subject line was supposed to be.
  • The calculus class seemed to take this handout pretty seriously. I asked them in the biographical assignment what they planned on doing with their 37 hours of free time, and a lot of them gave just one thing — a part-time job, sports, or even more studying. And yes, I’m keeping these bio sketches on file to present to the students later, in case they, er, change their minds.
  • Factoid: 12 of the 27 students in one of my calculus sections are high school students (through a dual-enrollment plan).
  • Geometer’s Sketchpad was a big hit with the Topics in Geometry class, as I figured it would be. This is one class I’ve really been looking forward to, and the first meeting did not disappoint. I kind of which this weren’t a junior/senior level class at our place; I think it could function perfectly well for sophomores or even incoming freshmen. Hey, how about reserving calculus for the sophomore year and replacing it with geometry and linear algebra?
  • Doodlebug has a combination of 2-year molars coming in and a bad cold. She is waking up repeatedly in the night because of teeth pain, or coughing fits, or at least a couple of times because she’s choked on stuff in her throat and was unable to breathe. I think I’ve totalled about six hours’ sleep in the last two days, none of it for more than 90 minutes at a time. As a result I have been basically a zombie since Monday. The first day of class is always tiring for me since I’m an introvert and expend most of my energy when I am in class. But this time it’s really pushing me to the limit.
  • I bring that up to give context to a first in my career: I took a nap in my office just now. For 45 minutes, on three chairs that I pushed together. My neck’s a little stiff but I’m actually kind of refreshed. It wasn’t quite like the Seinfeld episode where George makes a little nap area under his desk; that would be nice.
  • I think I’ve already got one recruit into the engineering program, a student who said she always wanted to be an engineer since she was  a kid, but since we didn’t have a program here she decided to major in Applied Math as her second choice. Even though the program isn’t really approved yet, all she’s got to do to be on track to continue in it once it is approved is add Physics for this semester. That’s pretty gratifying.
  • We’re going to see pretty shortly just how well the GTD framework I worked with over the summer holds up to the onslaught of stuff during a regular semester.

Now home, where perhaps sleep awaits?

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Filed under Calculus, Education, Family, Geometry, Life in academia, Student culture, Teaching

2 responses to “First day dispatches; or, New Adventures in Sleep Deprivation

  1. One of my earliest memories is my mother rubbing laudanum on my gums when I was teething. I don’t think they use laudanum that way any more.

  2. Eric

    There is a large table against a wall of my office that I crawl underneath to take naps in my office. It’s nice.