Every class has its own personality. There are happy classes, lazy classes, hostile classes, and clever classes. And a class’ personality will give you keys to how best to approach them. I think my favorite personality for a class is a playful/clever class… like I have this quarter. This of course presents it’s own challenges.
The difficulty of “clever” is that that witty banter can be a distraction for the class, as well as being a way for some students to try to deflect questions. Of course, I have a long history of engaging with witty banter, as well as having adopted the persona of a diabolical math teacher early on. So when they start joking about quitting early, I just laugh maniacally and ask them a harder question. They cringe for a moment, then they start asking smart questions.
In the odd but true category: when I was young, I had two potential career dreams. Either a research astronomer, or a stand up comedian. Now I guess I could say that I’m a stand up mathematician.
This quarter, I’m teaching with velociraptors and large amounts of witty banter. Thank you, XKCD.
In other news, I wandered by one of my fellow math instructors grading to “Gangstas’ Paradise”.
I love my job.