department, expectations, flash, flash fiction, infinite, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, lectures, life, mathematician, micro fiction, short stories, short story, students, university, work
by Ingrid Jendrzejewski
Welcome to Single Variable Calculus. This is an introductory course that will provide a foundation for all further work that you may choose to undertake within the department. The following topics will be covered:
Limits and Continuity
You will quickly discover that your postgraduate experience running a women’s research colloquium has done little to prepare you for a full-time teaching load. You will spend all the hours allocated to you for research and funding applications on preparing lectures and marking. However, because you are a mathematician and thus assumed to comprehend the infinite divisibility of the continuum, you will be expected to complete infinite amounts of work even as the limit of time available to you approaches zero.
You will deliver lectures in a hall that seats 600 students, 90% of whom are male: they will be looking at your breasts, which are both large and of slightly different sizes. You will receive feedback on this in the form of anonymous end-of-term student evaluations. Your female students will sit silently at the back, apparently convinced that they are derivatives.
Initial Value Problems
You will not be paid as much as Giles who will start at the same time as you. You are the only faculty member who will be teaching only first-year undergraduates. Because the department has no space for you, you will hold your office hours in what was once the disabled restroom. You will put a potted plant on the toilet, but it will die from lack of sunlight.
Techniques for Definite and Indefinite Integration
It is assumed that you will take minutes at departmental meetings and serve on both the Alumni Relations and Picnic committees. You will also develop a range of skills that will allow you to work effectively within academia such as managing expectations regarding promotions, prioritizing undergraduate teaching over research, and delaying child-bearing until retirement. You will learn that those who integrate only by parts find that their career trajectory is bounded from above, and approaches a definite limit.
Please study this syllabus carefully. It is hoped that upon mastering the above material, you will have a better understanding of the ways in which the university minimizes functionals such as yourself. This course is challenging, but upon completion, you will have all the experience required to accurately evaluate your own, individual potential for exponential growth, or decay.
Ingrid Jendrzejewski has found homes for her work in places like Passages North, The Los Angeles Review, Rattle, The Conium Review, and Jellyfish Review. She is the editor in chief of FlashBack Fiction and a flash editor at JMWW. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, for Vestal Review’s VERA Award, and five times for Best Small Fictions. Links to Ingrid’s work can be found at www.ingridj.com and she tweets @LunchOnTuesday.
Lisa Tomey said:
If only it were fiction…
Liz H said:
Yup. And this reaches further than college teaching in maths. Urgh!