Advising, Teaching, Football

I had advising appointments with 4 students on academic probation today. My estimate is that 2 of them will get through the semester and continue, and 2 will end up in bigger trouble or no longer be in our department. I wish I could do something to help them, but the problem is they need to take the appropriate action. I can tell them to Just Do It, but they are the ones who have to do it. Maybe I give them a new idea; maybe I let them know someone cares. Maybe I do no good at all.

I’ve been attending Mathematical Biology this semester with an eye toward teaching it in the future. It’s quite the contrast with my own classes. You walk in before class starts and everyone is sitting there in silence (myself included). Then the instructor starts talking. He’s interrupted with an occasional question from me and a rare question from one of the students. Then we wrap up and head to lunch, back to our offices, home.

My priority is to get my students talking. Talk! Meet each other. Ask me questions! Don’t sit there like lumps. You are not lumps. Let’s try putting some of ourselves into the material and see how that goes.

That said, he’s put more math on the board this past week than I did. And will continue to do so. I want my students doing the math more than I want me showing them the math. I will show some, they will do. Hopefully they will learn and absorb.

More embarassing news for Notre Dame and their football program. I was pretty outraged to read about the Lizzy Seeburg case and how it was handled several months ago. Now we can look at that case in contrast to the one of Manti T’eo and his fake girlfriend.

NPR article: More Tears For Notre Dame’s ‘Fake Tragedy’ Than A Real Girl’s Death?

I’ve heard the argument that football players are protected everywhere, and this happens everywhere. It may be true. But it sure as hell doesn’t make it right. Why is football such a sacred cow that we continue to put up with these institutionalized abuses?

Sometimes you can tell I’m from the University of Chicago where football was banned from 1940-1962, because the president of the university sought to emphasize academics over athletics. [Wikipedia on the U of C] That always makes me proud of my Alma Mater!