Thursday, September 01, 2016

Warms My Heart

Every year I tell my students that I'm preparing them for their college statistics course, that we'll cover more content than the AP test covers (but not in AP depth).  Every year I tell them about the former students who come back to tell me that their college stats course was all review, or that they were the only student in their college stats course who knew how to use statistical analysis software, or any other such story that just makes me beam--because it's evidence that I'm doing a good job.  Like most teachers I believe that I'm doing a good job, but it's nice to have that outside confirmation, and it's nice to get it year after year.

Just a few moments ago I received a text from a former student.  He received a text from a friend of his, another former stats student of mine, and sent it to me.  Here's what it says:
I was the only person who knew what (the) empirical rule is in my stats class.  So my stats teacher said he was going to say a number and see if someone could guess the next two numbers and he said 68 and (I) raised my hand and said 95 99.7 and he asked me what it was and I said (the) empirical rule.
What are these other teachers teaching, and what are their students learning, if not something as basic as the empirical (68-95-99.7) rule for the normal curve???  That's the stats equivalent of being in a geometry class and saying "a-squared plus b-squared equals" and having only one person know the answer.

Still, it's rewarding to me that the young woman who sent the text remembered the empirical rule.  Imagine how confident she is in her own stats knowledge now, how that can only cause her to do better in the course than she otherwise might have.  And I played a part in that.  Stories like this one help get me through the tougher days.

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