I prepare for the tutorials I help give the night before. I look over the material the students are supposed to have read or know for the assignment I give them. The material is usually in the form of course notes that the prof has given me. Then I look at the assignment and read it through. If I’m not given solutions (which is usually the case), I try to work through the problems myself and try to anticipate their questions. It usually takes half an hour tops.
Tomorrow’s tutorial is different. The material for the assignment was finished late, so it never made it into the course notes. The students have to download it from the course web site. The section they are on now has to do with probabilities of failure. I am currently facing two problems. First, the course web site is down. It just times out. I can’t get to the course notes. Second, I suck at probability. I took one course in statistics in my last year of undergrad. It was offered by the mechanical department and not math, which means it was a bit watered down as stats go. Also, it was a purely “by-the-numbers” type of course, which means I learned the material, got my “A”, and proceeded to forget everything related to stats about 0.0000001 seconds after I put down my pencil in the final exam.
It’s just my luck the one time I need to visit the course web site to get the notes and it’s down. I’ve read the assignment over and luckily (I think), it came with solutions. The answers make no sense to me unfortunately. They use a formula that I may have seen before or maybe I’ve never seen it all. Who knows?
Anyways, tomorrow I meet with the prof whom I help during the tutorial. Hopefully, he can explain it all to me.
It did cross my mind to go on-line and learn about probabilities and stuff on my own, but that’s way beyond the call of duty as a TA.
Good night folks!