I was finally catching up on some blog reading today (Yes, I should be finishing the grading of my Differential Equations tests, but I was kind of cranky this morning for no apparent reason. I’m sure my students would prefer me to be in a good mood before I start grading)
While reading the Carnival of Mathematics over at Walking Randomly, I was pointed in the direction of "Murphy’s Laws for Mathematics". I’m sure just about everyone knows the fundamental principle called Murphy’s Law:
Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. Corollary 1: At the worst possible time Corollary 2: Causing the most damage
Over at the site, Murphy’s Laws and Mathematics, we see how that works itself out in a mathematics course. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Every problem is harder than it looks and takes longer than you expected.
- Notes you understood perfectly in class transform themselves into hieroglyphics at home.
- The answers you need aren’t in the back of the book.
- No matter how much you study for exams, it will never be enough.
- The problems you can work are never put on the exam.
- The problems you are certain won’t be on the test will be.
- The answer to the problem you couldn’t work on the exam will become obvious after you hand in your paper.
This page was linked to over at 360 and I found his additions worth quoting as well:
- That brilliant insight to the problem you’ve been working on for weeks will disappear the moment you find some paper to write it down.
- The set of GREAT exam questions from a teacher perspective and the set of GREAT exam questions from a student perspective are nearly disjoint.
- If you wait until the last minute to print/photocopy something, the printer/copier will most surely break down.
Now that I am using Office Live to store my PowerPoint slides for my Intermediate Algebra course and also teaching an online Algebra course as well, I have a technological addition:
- Any online tool essential for your curriculum will be unavailable from 30 minutes before class or an online exam, until roughly 2 seconds after other arrangements have been made.