A couple nights ago, while working on my linear algebra, I just couldn't get my head around a fairly basic concept. I read through my notes, read the formal presentation in the book, but I couldn't make sense of it. It kept swirling around in my head, and in the maelstrom I couldn't get a grip on a simple fact that I needed in order to make sense of a huge part of what we were learning. It was very frustrating.
So I called a retired colleague, who I know taught linear algebra at the Air Force Academy 28 years ago. He was able to nudge me past the sticking point, and then it all made sense.
Tonight I saw a missed call on my phone, from a number I didn't recognize. I'd have ignored it (assuming it was a political call) had there not been a voice mail, and it turned out to be one of our chemistry teachers at school--who's also pursuing (yet another) advanced degree. Turns out that in his biomolecularchemicalthermodynamics course, or whatever the heck he's taking, he was given several non-trivial probability problems on an assignment. Since I'm the only teacher at our school who teaches probability and statistics, and hence am the teacher with the most recent knowledge of the material, he called me.
We worked out some problems over the phone as I was walking the aisles of Walmart, but others I needed to hold off on till I got home. Between the two calls we were on the phone for quite some time, and we got most of this problems solved. There were a couple that presented difficulties, either from wording or just not being sure which way to proceed, but overall we did pretty good.
Karma. What goes around, comes around. Pay it forward. However you look at it, it's teamwork.