Friday, January 06, 2006

The Other Foot

I used to give three hour lectures when I was an assistant professor. [The classes met one evening per week.] The people who took my courses were professional evening students trying to add an MA degree in mathematics or statistics for various reasons. They'd work a full day, then come for the 5:45-9pm lecture. That's a long lecture.

I've been sitting in on some graduate courses to learn some new things in statistics [my academic field] for an assualt on consulting, industry, or private business, and to keep myself mentally sharp. I notice that I get squirmy --- like a little boy on a long car drive --- about 30 minutes into things. And that is with material in which I'm interested.

Thus, being a student in outlook for the first time since the mid-nineties, I have the nagging feeling that I would not be able to tolerate one of my lectures, even with breaks scattered here and there. I gave good lectures and was reasonably interesting [so I'd say], but in retrospect, those people who survived the full 5:45-9pm lecture watching me throw up all sorts of mathematical statistics items on the board surely deserve some sort of medal, especially if they found me or the material [or, alas, both] boring. I wonder how I'd do in my own course, if such an experiment could be arranged.

Another interesting thing of note: even though I'm in the department where I received an MSci and PhD back in the nineties, I still feel like a graduate student when I'm there. Much like the oft-reported phenomenon of visiting one's parents and feeling like one is a child [instead of an adult], I find myself still unconsciously thinking like I'm 20 years old and just starting out again as a grad student. Nobody treats me like one there, but it is my default mental outlook. Of course, grad school was a very happy time of life [barring a few exams here and there], so perhaps this is some unconscious attempt to recreate Eden.

On a side note, posting may be light for another week or so.


Blogger chamblee54 said...

According to legend, there are three kinds of lies...lies, damn lies, and statistics.
A teacher told me once the best way to win an argument was with statistics. The best way to get statistics is to make them up.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 8:26:00 PM  

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