July 12, 2013

Day in the Life: Summer Edition

Herein lies proof I'm a dork.  A full account of Wednesday, July 10, 2013.  
Background: I got my masters degree from Boston University and a big part of that was the three summers I spent in the PROMYS program.  The first two summers are an in depth study of number theory.  This year I returned to the program as an employee.  This is a representative day of the 6 weeks of PROMYS.

6:00 am alarm goes off, I check in with the internet (twitter, email, feedly) and get ready.  I opt to wear a t-shirt from the SummerMath program I once worked at; since I now have 10 math camp t-shirts it's all math shirts all the time this summer.
7:00 am leave my house and walk to the bus stop, notice the flower in my yard that is finally blooming, listen to the birds, worry that it's overcast and may rain, remember I have a hat and raincoat in my bag.

7:15 am arrive at the bus stop
7:21 am bus arrives, read Connectome. Last week I read Bossy Pants which went faster, I think I'll be opting for a less technical book again next time.
8:07 am arrive at T station. Early today! Wonder whether people opted to drive since it looked like rain or missed the bus because it was running ahead of schedule. 20 minutes later I get off the T and spot my coworker at the high school who is also a participant in PROMYS. There is also a commuter rail from our town, which he took. It's faster than the bus but factoring in the time it takes to drive and park I'd end up leaving at the same time. Plus this is cheaper. And I love being able to walk! 10 minutes later I arrive at the building where morning lecture is held. Normally when I'm early I sit outside but it's cold (66) and damp so I take advantage of one of the benefits of summer (going to the bathroom whenever I want!), head into the lecture hall and start my crossword puzzle. Well, take out the puzzle but end up chatting about photocopiers and printers and binding at Staples. Yay teachers!
8:50 am As a T^2 (teacher teacher - our fun phrase for a TA) I am required to attend lecture, but since I went through this program I've already sat through essentially the same lectures twice, so I ask the students I'm grading for to hand me their work before lecture. I receive 2 of the 3 problem sets, one with a big sigh. She is struggling with proof and I learned later that she was up late last night with a's, b's and lemmas swirling through her head.
9:00 am listen to lecture and grade. Still don't get to the crossword puzzle!
10:30 am head over to the work space (all the participants work in one of two rooms with tables, the rooms are staffed by several T^2's throughout the day- we have shifts) to hand back the work I graded and spend time with gradees. Am about to head out when I see someone still working on a proof we started to tackle yesterday, sit down to help her through the rest of it. All of the sudden it's meeting time! I spent my free time doing math (my shift isn't until 3 today). Ah well, learning trumps free time.
12:00 pm lunch meeting. Free pizza! The meeting is a weekly check in for everyone (we also have weekly staff meetings) and a chance to socialize since participants spend 9-5 doing math (with a self-scheduled lunch break the other days).
1:00 pm head to the library to print the PCMI problem set (one math camp isn't enough for me, I have to keep up with the math at PCMI too!), sit outside (up to 70 degrees now!) check in with the internet, get a text message from a friend with a code for a free download for a game (Hundreds) and get sucked in for quite a while, watch new college students do orientation activities. I have one more thing I need to grade but I'm so sleepy!
2:00 pm get a chai and curl up in the comfy seats in the student center. Grade and return to playing my game.
3:00 pm T^2 shift. Proofs galore. Since I haven't done number theory for 3 years, the proofs are a mental workout for me as well as the participants. As I have my backpack on and am ready to head out, someone asks me one last question that gets me thinking. Love students who are still thinking "after the bell."
5:00 pm The idea of a lengthy commute home sends me to Starbucks for a snack (pumpkin bread).
6:10 pm bus leaves the station and I pull out the problem set I printed this afternoon
6:45 pm declare myself brain dead. Stare out the window the remaining portion of the bus ride.
7:15 pm arrive home just as it's starting to spit rain, hooray for good timing! Notice the flower from this morning is now all the way open - I was gone for 12 hours today! Collapse on the couch and catch up online. Get sucked into Hundreds again, eventually realize I should eat dinner.

8:40 pm Google Hangout with Justin, then Sean too, to discuss PCMI problem set. I think we are close to the solution to a problem we've been working on for days!
9:10 pm say goodbye to hangout 1 and join hangout 2: TMC13 morning session leaders meeting. Oh yeah, I'm doing another math camp this summer.  I love math camp!
9:50 pm declare it my bed time and sign out, to the confusion of everyone whose alarm doesn't go off at 6 am (or at all!). Ideas are running through my head so it takes until 10:45 to finally stop emailing/tweeting and put down my phone.

1 comment:

  1. That is a seriously busy day. It inspired me to keep track of what I'm doing today, which is not nearly as impressive.