Category Archives: Work

Do Ships Experience Pier Pressure?

So on my office door, my name is now on one of those wooden thingies instead of just a piece of paper. Does that mean I’m finally cool?

11-10-2019

HERE’S THE TEACH:

YO NERDS!

So I’m sure you’re all curious as to what I’m teaching next semester, right?

(Totally sure.)

STAT 321
SCIE 301
Edit: MATH 249

That SCIE 301 class is not even in the Math/Stats Department, so that’ll be interesting (that’s the one I was in the meeting for last week).

I hope the fact that I can teach math, stats, AND outside the department increases my usefulness around here. I fear for my future, even though I’m good up through next August.

Yay?

Protected: BLING A BLING FUTURE NONSENSE

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OH GOD IT’S A NEW SEMESTER

Hi.

So this is my first semester teaching as an actual factual instructor rather than a sessional instructor.

Feels good.

This is also my first semester teaching Calc I (MATH 265) instead of “Introductory Calculus” (MATH 249), though it sounds like the two classes are very similar.

WOO!

The Office

AAAAAAAAA I FINALLY HAVE MY OWN OFFICE

LOOK LOOK LOOK

09-03-2019

Prof Stoff

Yo there.

[Word doesn’t recognize the word “yo?” What in the actual hell.]

So I found a couple things of interest with respect to teaching that I’d like to post here, both for my own reference later and for anyone else who might be interested.

The first is an article by Dr. Evan Peck, an assistant professor of computer science at Bucknell University. It’s basically a document detailing some things that he’d like his students to know about him as a professor. I really like this idea; it allows the student to see a more personal or “human” side of a prof while also emphasizing important aspects of the teaching process, like the benefit of office hours or letting students know that it’s okay if they’re not immediately experts in the subject being taught.

The other is an article from the American Mathematical Society that talks about why we teach, methods of instruction, and how giving instruction more life and personality (as opposed to being super professional and button-down) can really engage students more and increase enthusiasm for the topic being taught (specifically math in this case).

Super interesting. Give them a read!

So…Big News:

I’ve been super vague on this blog regarding this topic ‘cause I didn’t know what the outcome would be and didn’t want to jinx it, but here we go.

Back in June, there was a job posting for an instructor position in the math/stats department here at U of C. I was encouraged to apply for it, which I readily did. Last week I had my interview (it was just myself and some other dude who got to that point).

And today? I got the news that the job is mine!

Starting September 1st, I will be a limited-term instructor with a guaranteed one year contract. That might not sound like much, but that’s a big step in the right direction. I currently am a sessional instructor, which means that I’ve just been hired on a semester-by-semester basis. Zero job security, lots of panic near the ends of semesters, and way too much insecurity for a control freak like myself.

But now? I’m guaranteed work through next August. I have a set amount of classes to teach per semester (three in the fall, three in the winter, one in either the spring or summer). I get a semester off (either spring or summer, whichever one I’m not teaching). I’m getting paid a lot more. I get benefits and a pension.

But most importantly, I am one step closer in making this job a permanent, long term thing. I am one step closer to being able to say that I get to work my dream job for the rest of my working life. And I can finally (at least until next July or so, haha) stop spending so much of my energy on freaking out about job security and re-direct it towards teaching.

Because that’s what I love. That’s what I want.

WOOT.

FLJASDLFAJVLF

Have I mentioned lately that I’m burnt out and just want to go home?

I’m burnt out and just want to go home.

Protected: OH GOD TEACHING TIME

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Final Destination: Calculus

Annnnnnnd SPRING 2019 MATH 249 has ended!

They took their final exam today. It was a three-hour long exam, and honestly, I’d rather be writing the exam than standing around like a turd for three hours waiting for everyone to finish.

Anyway, this class was a lot more enjoyable to teach the second time around, probably because I wasn’t frantically trying to make all the notes/labs/exams/etc. as the course progressed.

Protected: Power to the Peephole

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The End

So this semester is finally over.

It’s been a long one.

I mean yeah, I guess there’s still finals, but that’s a minute detail at this point.

Successfully teaching that calculus course meant a lot to me. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it at the start of the year, but I ended up doing it.

I hope I did Leibniz proud. I know that sounds like a really weird thing to say, but it means a lot to me, okay? It just…it just does.

Protected: Oof

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S T R E S S

Man, I am ready for this semester to be over.

Making brand new sets of notes* as the semester goes is a lot of work. The last time I was making brand new notes without any prior material of my own was when I first taught STAT 217 in Winter 2017; the last time I was making brand new notes for a subject I’d never even taught before was when I first started working at UI in 2012.

So it’s been a while.

And I forgot how much freaking work it was.

*And lab material, and additional practice problems, and practice midterm keys, and midterms, and a final.

Protected: Oh. Fun.

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Blugh.

Is the semester over yet?

ZZZ

I spent twelve hours at work today.

Which is actually not as unusual as you might think for me, but the reason I was able to do so today was because I didn’t walk (today is my scheduled day off).

Which I realize now was a stupid thing to do, because the weather is supposed to be crap tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday.

But I also realize that I’d probably STILL BE AT WORK if I’d walked this morning, so…

(Not that it matters; it’s 4 AM and I’m still doing work from home.)

Gotta love midterm season.

SCHOOOOOOOOOOOL

There was no actual teaching today, since I usually just take the first day of classes to go over the syllabus, expectations, due dates, etc., but it’s nice to be back in the swing of things.

I am both terrified and beyond excited for this calc class. We’ll see how things go.

It’s weird teaching a small section (120 students) of STAT 213, though, especially after having two sections of 240 students (plus 120 students for STAT 217) last semester.

Jesus, I had 600 students last semester. No wonder I had no time for anything else.

FINALS SLDKFJSLFJSL

Final exams are always chaotic, especially if you have to try to coordinate four instructors and approximately 1,000 students across three different rooms.

BUT IT’S OVER NOW, so it’s time to grade.

Excitement overload.

Also, I’m pretty sure my blogs got lost in the mail. It says they got shipped, but it’s been more than two months now (I think?) and even with the postal strike that happened, I would have thought they’d be here by now. SAD NEWS. I guess I can just order another copy, it was only like $20.

Semester OVER

UGH this was a long semester. Lots of work. Lots of lecturing. Lots of answering emails. Lots of office hours.

600 students is a lot of students.

I’m so freaking burnt out right now, but I guess I can’t really afford to be. Time to start working on next semester, I guess.

But not today. Today I will be the most useless human being in existence.

OH WAIT I ALREADY AM