Shut Up and Rationalize These Radicals.

If you have discovered a way to pound it into the head of an 18-22 year-old that the world does not always revolve exclusively around each of them, please let me know.

I've been growing increasingly frustrated with the students who share my algebra class. Everyone's already done this before, or everyone's so tired of doing these problems, or everyone wants to know why we have to go over all this again? My instructor let the class know this morning that we're going over old stuff because we have some extra time and some people need the help (me); our syllabus only covers one section per class in the next two weeks so we're going to slow it down and re-cover material from test two (this was the worst group of test scores he'd ever seen). This makes some of us happy – the quiet, ashamed ones who try not to cry over radicals and multiplying exponents with imaginary numbers over the square root of (3x-5y)9.6f-3/2i. The kids who do well are also fresh out of the same class and tested into this one, so they think they know everything. If they were that smart, why didn't they test out of this course? Go on to calulus or finite and leave me alone. Besides, what the dumasses don't realize is that our last test is cumulative so it only makes sense to review as we go along.

Sometimes I just look at a problem he'll write down on the board and I want to start sniveling. I try to reason it out, to rationalize what I need to do next. But as I'm trying to concentrate, the eight or ten students who all happen to have something in common that makes it a gas to chit-chat and cackle at one another (the same students who are cackling and chit-chatting because they were done working out the problem two minutes ago while I'm still sweating over it) ruin my concentration. Today I found myself muttering “Jesus” under my breath several times as I couldn't focus over the sheer volume of voices, laughing, and ridiculous questions:
“Hey, are we going to have class next Tuesday?”
“Yes, why wouldn't we?”
“It's Halloween!” “Can we wear a costume?” “Are you going to bring us candy?” “If we wear a costume can we have candy?” “Can we bring candy?” “Do we have to come to class?”

I was like, what is this? Fourth grade?

Occasionally the instructor has to ask everyone to quiet down, but it just starts up again over the next problem he has us work on.

I came straight home and did all of my homework, managing to get correct answers on the first try (which is amazing), but I really wish there was a way to say – nicely, brilliantly, wittily, of course – “Hey, look. I'm thirty-some-odd-freaking-years-old. I paid my own money for this course. I have to have it to transfer back to IUPUI. I really need to concentrate. I have to pass this class. I don't understand the material. The last time I was in a math class you were in diapers. Would it be too much to ask you to please save your games of grab-ass and let's-see-who-can-shout-louder for after class?”


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