Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Christmas gift

Even better than an apple on the desk

I confidently predict that this message from a student will be my favorite Christmas present for a good long while. My fellow teachers (especially in math) will understand.
Dr. Z,

I just wanted to take some time to let you know what a wonderful experience this class has been for me. Although I was always a good student, I was never good at math. I wanted nothing to do with it. So you can imagine how much I was dreading taking a Calculus class. In the beginning I was nervous and was not doing that well. But over the course of this semester, I have not only done well in the class, I actually enjoyed it!

I am writing to you because I'm quite overwhelmed by how in one semester I've gone from hating math to actually enjoying it. I considered taking Calculus II with you just because I enjoyed the challenge that Calculus I provided me. I can't actually do that because I have many other units that I must complete before I transfer. You have been one of the best, most organized, approachable, helpful, responsive and, witty teachers I have ever had and I wanted to thank you for a great academic experience.
You are very welcome.


Anonymous said...

It's good to know you are doing it the right way, and your judgment is better than theirs, but still, this is gold.

Congratulations on that wonderful feedback.


Enon said...

That's great! Can we clone you?

In my experience, math and numbers are things that make many people very anxious, along with public speaking and computers. The way math is often taught doesn't help.

A few years ago I called my fifth grade math teacher just before he retired. I wanted to thank him for the excellent job he did preparing me to move on in math.

Karen said...

Well done, Zeno.

It's a pity that your student can't fit Calc II into her/his schedule, because s/he'd likely get more practice in critical thinking than in a lot of those required courses.

AnyEdge said...

I had a student decide to persue a graduate degree in the subject I taught him, prior to which he had no interest. That was awesome.

Miki Z. said...

That's certainly something to brighten a day. Was this a student who was actively engaging with the class and material?

Zeno said...

Yes, Miki, the student was engaged in the class, despite picking a seat in the back row (where the nonparticipants often choose to lurk). But the student's involvement grew week by week until it rivaled anyone else's engagement. It was fun to observe, but I had no idea that it was a transformation on the order indicated by the student's end-of-semester e-mail.

Sili said...

If I ever do start teaching, I'll have to ask you for help.

Zeno said...

I have loads of free advice, Sili, and it's worth every penny!

Sili said...

I'll pay you double overtime, then.

It was recommended to me yesterday that I apply for teaching positions (by a former student, actually - embarrassing that I hadn't recognised him). I need to get some supplementary courses, but some high schools may be desperate enough to dispensate (and then pay for me to take them, yay!).

But it's a bad times, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

Happy Monkey!