Less scary than expected

Last time around, I got away with the second lowest level of math.

I was a communications/theater/spanish/sociology student… and none of those really cared much how well I could do algebra.

I also got away with geology and oceanography for science classes.

None of the above flies with health professions related programs.

And so, I need the next higher math class for the degree.

And I also need chemistry. But chemistry requires the math class above the one that I already have to take.

And so, I need two higher math classes… when it’s been more than 10 years since I’ve had to take any math class. And when I never did ever make it into Algebra 2 or anything higher in high school (long story for another day).

I really haven’t been looking forward to this. These and chemistry both scare me a bit.

So… this is one of the semesters of the program where they leave hours open for you to take one of your required classes to make the full time status.

And so I ended up in math, in the summer session where they cram a class into 8 weeks instead of 16.

And… the only one open meets one night a week for 4 hours… cramming a whole week’s worth of classes into one night.

I started to wonder what I was thinking… and expected to be spending large amounts of the summer on math homework.

I walked into the classroom on the first night…. and my first clue that something was odd was that there were little piles of snack sized candy on all of the tables. That’s not something normal for a college classroom.

We soon found out…. she only teaches one class a semester at the college. She’s actually a high school teacher, so she usually teaches this material at a lower level.

The class works out to be one chapter per night… and so, what she does… is that she picks the sections that she knows will be relevant in the next class (she teaches a session of that next semester), she goes through the first section… assigns 3 or 4 problems from each different section type in the book’s assignment… then gives us time to work on them before going to the next section.

This means… no homework unless you need more time. There’s only 15 students in the class, and about 12 of us turned everything in during class.

As far as the graphing calculator listed as required… not only is she fine with cell phone apps instead of having to make a purchase you likely won’t use again… but she actually provides calculators to use in class, so that way she knows they are all the same and can explain which buttons to hit easier.

And she encourages their use any time we find it helpful.

And… except for the final, all of the tests are take-home tests… where we can use anything we can find to get the answers, and even told us that it’s easier if we work on them with a partner.

The final is required to be in class…. but they syllabus says for that night “come hungry, pizza will be provided”… and the week before, she will give us a review sheet and answer key, which will actually be a different version of the same test (where they can set it to make “A” version and “B” version which some teachers use to reduce cheating… and usually only vary by question order or what variables are plugged in)

Suddenly, these math classes aren’t looking quite so scary after all!


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