Wherein Reality Defies my Expectations

I’ve been predicting that my 9:35 am class was going to be the easy/fun one, and the 2:20 class was going to be the difficult one.

The 9:35 am class filled up during early registration. That means, I think, that mostly honors students (with priority registration) got into the class. They should be easy, right?

The 2:20 class, on the other hand, didn’t get created until after almost everyone was registered. I figured I probably got a lot of students who had problems or bars on their registration (academic probation?) or who just put things off until the last minute.

How are we wrong? In the 9:35 am class, I had 4 absent (out of 20). I had at least another 4 who were notably late, two who I didn’t even let sign in for the day. In the second class, there were half as many tardy and absent. Guess which class is looking better now?

What went well?

  • Having students introduce each other went well.
  • I was surprisingly good with names today.
  • Talking about classes we liked/disliked, why we disliked them, and how this affected us/our behavior was productive.
  • Lots and lots of students participated.
  • I still am pleased with my little list of things to do from my last post, with one additional item added at the end:
  1. Show up on time for class.
  2. Bring a smile or a kind word for someone in our class every day.
  3. Stay in the classroom the entire class period.
  4. Participate.
  5. Use class time productively for our class work.
  6. Be professional.

What didn’t go so well?

  • I don’t feel like I did a good job of introducing the syallabus.
  • I had a brain-seizure on the class ending time in the morning class. First I was going to let them go early, then I ended up keeping them 5 minutes late.
  • I didn’t get through my outline on “What Is Mathematical Modeling” in either class; I didn’t start it at all in the second.
  • I didn’t talk up the writing center.

What do I want to make sure I do next time?

  1. I want to say, “I am happy to see you,” to my students.
  2. Go over prerequisites! Every once in a while I get someone in there who doesn’t have them; best to fix that now.
  3. Questions on the syllabus?
  4. Go over what is due soon and where to find it.
  5. Talk up the writing center.
  6. Talk up the amount of work required for this class! Scare a few off. This is not a blow-off class.
  7. Finish the outline on what is mathematical modeling.
  8. Give a LaTeX lesson so students can do my LaTeXercises and get to work on their first writing assignment.

In other unexciting just-do-it kind of news, I went for a nice walk today after getting home from work.