Sunday, January 29, 2006
Calculicious. . .
So I'm moonlighting as a substitute teacher for another couple of weeks. One of the teachers at Regan's school is on maternity leave, and so I've been teaching part of her calculus class. I really can't complain: there are only 5 students, they are all high school seniors (IE: basically adults, so no real discipline problems), and they are among the best students in their class. I'm doing my best to be clear in my lessons, but I've found they always need a bit more explanation than my original lesson plan entails. I think it's because I've been using this stuff since I started college. . . oh. . . 8 YEARS AGO!!! It's amazingly hard to remember what it was like when I was a high school senior, in terms of how much math I knew.
I'm doing my best, but it still seems as though I'm making the tests/quizzes a bit too hard. The students are smart, but they also want to do the minimum amount of work and reap the maximum amount of learning. I should aim for that balance as well. I'm pretty sure I made their semester final exam too hard, even though I didn't design most of it. Looks like a curve is in order. The regular teacher should be coming off of maternity leave in two weeks, but I get the impression she may take another week. That's fine. I could actually use the money.
Once my moonlighting as a substitute teacher is finished, I'll be able to concentrate more on my research. I need to make some progress and finish off this diurnal variation study, so I can put it behind me and move on to the next thing. I'm looking forward to the Puerto Rico trip in March! Mark is sending Dave and I down to Arecibo to install a field magnetometer for his MEASURE array. It'll be cool to get to see the Arecibo obervatory! That's the one they used in the movies Contact and Goldeneye. I'll bet it'll be tough to get the whole dish in one photo frame. . . Anyway, I'm going to San Gabriel Dam this wednesday with a group of engineers so I can learn how to set up one of these magnetometers. It'll just be two space science grad students fumbling around in the jungles of Puerto Rico in a month or two, and I need to be prepared. I wonder if we'll need machetes. . .