Me: "Hey AJ, what I said in class was 'it must really suck trying to learn what graphs look like when you can't *look* at them on the board.'"
AJ: "Oh! Okay. But... he did say it (a 5th degree polynomial with a negative leading coefficient) looked like an 'm'!"
Shane: "Yeah, not that she (the teacher) could tell him if he was right or wrong."
Me: "Yeah, 'cause of his accent. Sheesh... he can't see what she's drawing, and she can't understand what he's saying."
AJ: (looking at me aghast) "That's terrible!"
Me: "Heh... actually they just have a normal male/female relationship."
In all seriousness, though, wow. I can't even fucking imagine how horrid it must be to have to try to grasp graphing just from verbal descriptions of something you'll never see. Yeesh.
Semi-unrelatedly, there's a chick in that class who can't go 5 minutes without demonstrating that she understood what the teacher just said to about the same degree as a wire-hair terrier would have. Anybody who says "there are no stupid questions" has clearly never shared a math class with this girl... she doesn't even just say "I didn't get that," no, she draws the most amazingly retarded and inaccurate conclusions that have no apparent bearing on anything that was said for the last 5 minutes, and then asks for their confirmation. Which, of course, she doesn't get. And I can't help but wonder, why is this girl here? I mean, seriously, if you can't so much as manage to comprehend 5 minutes at a time worth of lecture, even during those 5 minutes, what are the odds you'll ever manage to use the skills you're "learning" for anything useful later, much less use those skills as prerequisites for learning more advanced ones?
I don't want to give the wrong impression of my school, though. I've had a few negative things to say recently about particular individuals or groups, but as a whole, I find this place pretty remarkable. My own courseload is, of course, pre-sophomoric as of yet, but I know enough of what various research groups are doing in the school to be kinda humbled to be in the midst of so much 'arcane and fearsome knowledge' that I don't possess.