Thursday, February 16, 2012

Teacher Follies

An amusing/embarrassing thing happened to me today.

Because I write so much, I am very careful to keep paper that I've only used one side of to use as scratch paper. I have a big stack of this on my desk, and when students come to see me, I usually write with/for them on some of this paper, and then if they want, I let them take the paper with them. I figure the graduate math on the other side won't hurt them any (though it hurts me plenty, I can tell you).

Anyway, sometimes when I am working on problems, I write notes to myself in the margins. Often the notes say something like, "I suck at this type of problem :(" or "I will never get this!!!!" I try not to give papers like that to students, but I don't try very hard.

Yesterday, a guy came to my office hours and I sent him away with three sheets of my scratch paper. Today before class, he was showing it to another student, and I overheard this conversation:

Other student: Huh. It says "I am a bad ass" on this side. Did you [to the first student] write this?
First student: No, I think she wrote that. This is her work for some other stuff.

So I wandered over and sure enough, I had written "I am a bad ass" in the margin of my work. We had a good laugh over it.

It's kind of embarrassing, but I'm glad it was positive self-talk for once, and not the negative kind. One of my friends in the program pointed out that it was good that I had at least not written that I was a BAMF, which is also something I might write (either as an abbreviation or written out).

So anyway, there's that.


Sally said...


Barefoot Doctoral said...

My nightmare is handing over pages to students where I've written insults to the authors in my frustration to understand their work.