Monday, July 1, 2019

Ten Years Professing

Ten years ago today I moved from Massachusetts to Ohio to teach at Wittenberg University.  I was recently hooded, affianced, and ready for my shiny new job.  I realized quickly that I always needed more time to prepare my teaching materials.  A gentle disillusionment that explained why my professors were always so harried.  Somehow keeping up hadn't been too difficult in grad school when I taught three courses over three semesters (instead of 3-4 courses each semester) and had other grad students to handle my grading. 

In the past ten years, the race-against-the-clock to implement new course materials continues.  Luckily, the payoff in appreciation from students is tremendous.  That positive attention from teaching is a fuel that first lent me it's energy in 2001 as an undergrad.  I realized how much I wanted to teach then, a feeling reaffirmed when I taught in grad school at BU from 2007 to 2009.

Being a good teacher does not require your own creation of course materials, however.  I hope my work is actually reusable.  If just one other person gets a jump start because they don't have to create all their own content, that would be worth all the extra effort to make it accessible.

I can't make everything publicly available, because then students can just copy answers and solutions.  Still, I've got student versions of my lecture notes, a LaTeX package for writing lecture notes, publicly-available course pages (with assignments), an automated Python (3) grader, and a Python-to-Java tutorial

Ten years has changed a lot.  I'm divorced, a parent, tenured, and have switched schools twice.  As of today, I'm our department chair at Plymouth State.  (This last bit is definitely not going to help me prepare my course materials.)  I've seen a bunch of different students, but I'm still dedicated to their learning.



I got my copy of Games of No Chance 5, which has my Neighboring Nim paper.  (I'm finally published in a GONC!)  Neighboring Nim was something I proved hard back in July 2009, right after that big move to Ohio at the very start of my career.

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