Monthly Archives: August 2013


It was awful, but I’m pretty sure this is a dream.

I had my first pre-semester stress dream. I was teaching my first day of calc 1, and I had this really cool activity planned that would get students out of their seats and talking to one another, but it totally flopped. Not only that, but I couldn’t get the document projector to display the syllabus (which I had to borrow from a prepared student because I didn’t even have a copy of the syllabus), I barely managed to get the students to pay attention, and I forgot to assign the first homework assignment.

I went back to my office, and someone came by and asked how my first day went.

“Well, it was awful. But that’s okay. I’m pretty sure this is a dream. I’m supposed to teach Linear Algebra in an hour and I don’t even have the book. Also, this isn’t my office.” (It wasn’t. My dream office was in a hard-to-find turret attached to the math building. I shared this office with several of my coauthors and former office mates and a person-sized bat.)

There’s something to be said for being a mathematician, even while sleeping. I deduced the heck out of that one. Usually there a few little snags in the dream-logic that clue me in, even in sleep mode. (Take that, smart phone. There’s something you can’t do!)

Do you have stress dreams, and are you able to rationalize your way to the understanding that you’re in a dream?


How to get a job, Part I: your materials

Or: Gearing up for the job market; thank God it’s not me this time.

Hey friends!  Now that I’ve been on the market once, I’m qualified to give you advice.  Here’s the first part in an n-part series.

Your materials!  They’re how you let the job market know who you are and what you have to offer.  But you knew that already.  My first piece of advice is get a working draft of your teaching and research statements by the end of next week.  Why?  Because they’re hard to write, and it only gets harder once the semester starts.  Once you have a draft, you’ve done the hard work of thinking about your teaching and research, and you can relax and edit those puppies while grading stacks of exams.

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