What happened in math on Thursday (even AFTER the “short quiz” that melted all our faces):

Seriously, this girl raised her hand and said “I don’t want to hear about your tangents–” and the professor cut her off and said “I have been teaching this course for 18 years–” and the girl cut him off and said “Well then, let’s take a vote. Who here wants to listen to him go off on how stupid we are and who wants to learn–” at which point the professor said “Vote? Vote? There will be no such thing. The discussion is ending here. If you don’t like how I teach, then you can complain, or go be a math professor yourself.” Then she circulated a petition that said “We, the undersigned, would rather the professor talk about matters directly related to the course material, instead of insulting his students’ intelligence and going on wild tangents about super-string theory that require a background that most of us do not have to understand.” Three people signed it. Three other people wrote little paragraphs saying that they enjoyed the tangents and did not agree with the petition. The other 25 of us didn’t do anything.


Anyway, I then discovered Sami, 113’s GSI, and her office hours, and she is very nice and friendly and lively and talks loudly and is smart and pretty and I am very glad to have someone like her who can help us. Because we are all very bewildered.

I just spilled water all over my notebook. It is soggy. As cornflakes.

After that highly bewildering morning, I went to my Faulkner seminar professor’s office hours. I’m still on the waitlist for that class, but she said “What? I thought we enrolled you… well, even if we have to go to 26 to enroll you, I will. I value your participation in class.” I WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really like this class. babygrand will remember how when we took 45c and read “the sound and the fury” I kept telling her how much I loved the appendix and how brutally sarcastic the whole thing was. Yeah. I really like it.


  1. Hahahahaha. I would have raised my hand to say I knew what fermionic was, even though I don’t. I hate how self-righteous some people are. And I’m talking here about the students more than the prof. A PETITION!??!?! Sorry dude, College isn’t a democracy. It’s kind of like when my students vote. “How many people think Ms. Sindorf is a bad teacher?” And they raise their hands. Oh? Really? You do? Well I guess I’ll let you come up here then instead. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA SUCKAS!

    1. but don’t they deserve the ask for a teacher who teaches what they are supposed to learn. college is not a democracy, sure, but it is a trade of goods and services. money for knowledge. if they’re not getting the appropriate knowledge then they can complain.

      1. while i agree with this in principle

        there isn’t really a “what you’re supposed to learn” for math 113, anymore than there’s a “what you’re supposed to learn” for a seminar on poetry of 1920’s england. it’s up to the professor to feel out what the class is interested in (and fail miserably at that task, evidently)

        1. Re: while i agree with this in principle

          haha. yeah. And E, I do think it is a little unfair that he is using class time to talk about what could be considered “extra stuff,” making it so we have to go to office hours if we have problems with the material, when it should ostensibly be the other way around. Though I have to admit I really kind of like his tangents in a masochistic kind of way. And I guess he argues that he IS teaching the course material, it’s his role to “excite” his students about the concepts and show us about “beautiful” applications, and if we can’t follow them, we’re stupid. See, he keeps talking about how we are at BERKELEY, and how we should be WAY smarter than the target audience of the textbook, because textbook writers like everyone in America are motivated purely by money so they write them to the lowest common denominator … and he demands to know things like “when was the first time you heard of sine and cosine and tangents?” and when we say “13? 14? 15?” he says “SO LATE??? You guys in america… so behind… really, by the time I was 15, I had already mastered all of the concepts in THIS CLASS” … Well … Once you realize he is mostly kidding, or that’s just the way he talks, then he becomes a lot more bearable. Or something.

    2. Actually, he asked “Who here has not heard of a fermionic?” and out of sheer … I dunno, disrespect? indignance?, I raised my hand really high, and there was a smattering of hands across the room too. Just to see what he’d say. And we were rewarded with something about the new illiteracy of America and how it is impossible and dismaying that so many of us don’t know this stuff becuase it’s all over popular science and magazines and the news and I wanted to laugh but I didn’t. And then he talked about how he was only trying to lighten up the class because he could see that “some of you look really stung by that test.”

  2. Wow, that situation almost makes me wish I had taken a math class at Berkeley! =) I hated 45C. Our professor was horrible. I’m so thankful I never had to take another class with her. Abel? Who is your professor for the Faulkner seminar? I miss English classes but I must admit that Public Health classes are pretty awesome too. Anything would be compared to MCB.

    1. Hi Ciyiyiyindyi! I have Prof Dorothy Hale for my Faulkner seminar. I love her. I just want to sit there and listen to her talk. Yah, whenever our 45c professor opened her mouth, my eyes glazed over and my ears bottled up… hahaha. I have Naiman for my Nobokov class (it’s cross listed with slavic, so maybe he’s a professor for that dept?) and I really like him too. I’m so easily excitable. I get as excited about my classes as I do about winning games in Arathi Basin. And therein lie all my problems.

    1. yes… guess which one is me


      [1. General Chat] professor: …and so, physicists discovered these theories, and then it was absorbed into mathematics, and thus was created “super mathematics,” and you have “super calculus” and such–
      [1. General Chat] student1: ZOMG NERF SUPER CALCULUS
      [1. General Chat] student2: stfu noob lurn2be a giant cock and pretend like you know super string theory already
      [1. General Chat] judy: is that kind of like super mario?
      [2. Trade] student3: WTB talking about group theory

      1. And for the record, I do kind of think its BS that he goes into random tangents not related to math113. I think the reason why he does that is because he thinks the class is too hopeless to teach at the level he expects to.

  3. Which professor is this?

    I had a professor Parker for Math 53 (Multivariable calculus). He preferred to talk about politics in lecture. I was in his class during the middle of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and in one of the few lectures I did attend, he was handing out a handwritten diatribe against Special Prosecutor Ken Starr.

    And the way he was teaching went completely over my head. And I had a TA who had such a thick Asian accent that I couldn’t understand him. For all I know, he wasn’t actually speaking English.

    I am convinced that lower division (or possibly the entire undergrad) math classes at Berkeley are completely shit. I have NEVER heard of anyone with a good experience in lower div math, and the only nuts I’ve ever heard of being happy with our math department were math majors (Peter and Ari from P5).

    I still wonder if my crap experience in Math 53 (combined with a professor with the most impossible tests ever in Physics 7A-C) is what forever doomed me to be unable to do analog EE.

    Fuck Berkeley Math.

    1. Wodzicki. Suzanne’s Mike said today that he had him too and remembered the tangent thing

      I haven’t taken very many classes, but I liked at least one professor, and since I took 55 over a summer I had a GSI as the class instructor and he was really incredibly good. So I guess that was a “good experience” (also my TA for 54 was really hot. He looked like David Duchonvy and Noah Wyle) that you have now heard of someone having. Not that they actually WERE “good” experiences since the best I’ve been able to manage was a lone B, but that’s my own fault or something.

    2. Don’t know you but for the record, math53 rocked for me. I forgot who I had but my TA was this lanky British dude who really went the extra mile to get us to understand how to use differential forms.

      I loved that the entire semester could be summarized in one equation. Very nice.


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