Tuesday, August 22, 2006

You mean teachers exist outside of the classroom?

Last night, The Doktah called to tell me about a moral dilemma she was having. She is preparing to teach her first class, “Heat and Mass Transfer,” and she told me she realized that she is going to have to tell her students that the Del Operator is useful.

“Which one is that again?” I asked.

“Exactly!” she replied. “It’s the upside down delta that takes the derivative with respect to the normal vector,” she added. “You use it for flux?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “I sort of remember that.”

“Yeah, and I’m going to have to tell them, ‘Oh, you’ll use this all the time. In fact, I’m always talking about the Del Operator with my chemical engineering buddies.’”

“Well you can tell them you were just talking about it last night,” I pointed out. “You can even say how you and your chemical engineering friend were discussing just how useful the Del Operator is.”

The Doktah laughed, then sighed. “I understand this stuff really well on a freshman level,” she said, “but I’m worried that they are going to ask me really hard questions about it.”

We then shared our recent anxiety dreams with each other. Mine are about how I’m going to have to take care of a baby soon. Hers are about teaching. “Yeah, I dream that I prepared for the wrong class, or that my lecture notes only last for ten minutes.”

It’s funny, because as a student, it never occurs to you that the teacher is just as nervous as you are. Probably more so. But in fact, teaching is probably one of the scariest professions out there, at least for the first couple of years.

1 comment:

maggie said...

My entire family is made up of teachers. And the first time my husband was around for a night of Can You Believe My Student Did This That and The Other Stupid/Ridiculous/Horrifically Dumb Thing, he worriedly asked me later if I thought his teachers talked about him outside of school. "WITHOUT A DOUBT," I said. I wish I'd had the luxury of not knowing teachers exist outside of class!