# My maths teacher has a problem with me?

1. Mar 20, 2013

### Jarfi

If you have any looks at the situation or have experienced the same you might want to read.

So I'm studying in europe. I am 18 and am on a course focused on maths and physics, but there is also biology and such.

I got **** grades the year before in maths but just because I was lazy and I took the test again and got very good grades and enrolled in this field.

Still having the same maths teacher, he seems to think I don't belong in the course, It is one of the hardest courses in my country but I nonetheless do get reasonable grades on my maths exam. The reason I am on this course is not because of math but for the physics, and I get excellent grades in most physics tests and am one of the best students there.

But for me, maths is just a tool, not that fun... just a thing I have to learn. So the thing is, we have these home maths report where we get 4-10 problems we have to solve, these are harder than tests and you have to sometimes create a proof or such. Well, he seems to HATE my reports. It's not my answers, they are usually correct... and I use the right methods, but he absolutely hates my "writing style" and small errors like forgetting to say, a>0 and small details. I try my best to have it clean but he's so ****ing anal about what seems like me not doing his personal style of writing maths. I mean I had my classmate look over it, and he said it looked fine..... He becomes furious if my graph looks SLIGHTLY off and even the way I word things, where I say "and f is differentiatable on R" then he'll give me a minus and say "SO f is differentiatable on R" It's like HIS personal style and eccentric way of maths is giving me **** grades on home reports.

My wording, and small stuff like badly drawn graphs make him give me 0 and he even refused to grade 2 of my reports.

And I'm pretty good at maths, I can always find the solutions... I just don't really care for writing styles and rules, it's not a god damn essay about a book. It's a way to find the answer, and he looks at maths like an art of style, not a useful tool... all I see maths is is a tool for physics.

I'm even repulsed by doing my maths homework or attacking a problem since I have to attack it in exactly his way. He seems to hate me, and is biased. I do my reports mostly like my classmates. He also claims we are on this field to learn maths, but I'm not.. I'm only here for physics he's a bitter emotionally supressed *******.

My physics teacher just cares for the solution, and finding it in the simplest way.. she doesn't really give a **** if I don't find it in her way. She rewards creativity and intelligence, unlike my maths teacher.

Are all maths teachers like this? Since I'm getting sick of this.

/rant

2. Mar 20, 2013

### phinds

As long as you consider it that "he has a problem with me" there will be nothing you can do to solve it since it is HIS problem, not yours. If you actually want to do something about it, you have to look at is "I have a problem with him" and see what you can do to change it. You are NOT likely to change HIM after all so if you want to fix it, you have to look at is as your problem, not his problem.

Life is like this sometimes. Get over it.

3. Mar 20, 2013

### micromass

Staff Emeritus
I'm not saying that you are wrong and that your math teacher is right, but I'm talking in general. In general, writing style is very important in mathematics. Being able to solve a problem is one thing, but presenting a problem is another skill that you need to develop. There are many guidelines to writing mathematics.

Usually, beginning students write things in a very horrible way. The solution may be right, but that doesn't mean that what they wrote is very nice to read. In my opinion, teachers should subtract points when the student his writing style is not very good. Of course, students should get enough feedback to improve themselves.

I hope you know that there is a huge difference between "the limit exists and the function is differentiable" and "the limit exists, so the function is differentiable". The last one is correct since you infer differentiable from the existence of a limit. I'm not saying that I would give a lower score for this, but it's a rather important thing.

Something that beginning students often like to do is to write as many symbols as possible (and certainly if they worked through a proof book!!). It takes experience to learn that you actually have the least amount of symbols as possible. For example, a beginning student may write

$$\forall x:~x^2 = 4~\Rightarrow~x=\pm 2\Rightarrow x\geq -2$$

It is much better not to use any symbols at all. Just write: For any number $x$, we can solve the equation $x^2=4$. The solution is that either $x=2$ or $x=-2$. In particular, we see that $x\geq -2$.

Things like $\Rightarrow$, $\forall$, $\exists$ should never appear in a mathematics text (except for a specialized logic text or formal definitions such as epsilon-delta).

Here is a very good text on how to write mathematics: www.math.washington.edu/~lee/Writing/writing

4. Mar 20, 2013

### nonequilibrium

Micro, what is the reason for not using those symbols in math proofs?

5. Mar 20, 2013

### micromass

Staff Emeritus
It makes things very hard to read.

Ideally, a math proof should read like an essay. You should be able to read (most of) it out loud. This is the way you will always see proofs written in math books or papers.

Proofs using symbols are useful as scratch work (and I use them a LOT in that context), but are horrible to read. Furthermore, using a lot of symbols shows that you're an amateur :tongue2:

6. Mar 20, 2013

### jhae2.718

7. Mar 20, 2013

### nonequilibrium

peer pressure? gang mentality?

As for being horrible to read, I can understand, but I don't see a problem with a sentence like "We prove that $\forall x \in \mathbb R$, one can find..."

8. Mar 20, 2013

### micromass

Staff Emeritus
Probably, but it is what it is :tongue2:

Yeah, but nobody writes things like this. It really is considered bad style. I don't think that it's unreadable, but I discourage you from writing this in actual papers.

9. Mar 20, 2013

### micromass

Staff Emeritus