During the past month we have heard several comments, both directly and
through interaction groups, along the lines that "Recitations should be made
optional, because they are a waste of time for good students."
It is true that the most important function of the recitation class is
to provide help to the students who are in danger of falling behind. This
is very necessary in a fast-paced course that doesn't leave much time in
the "lecture" classes for the professor to work out extra examples or
answer questions. However, in both kinds of classes we make a serious
effort to provide a variety of experiences and to address a variety of
audiences from time to time.
If you have found yourself bored in recitation class, we ask you to consider
- The future is not always like the past. Of necessity, this
course has spent a lot of time on things you may have learned in high
school. But as the year progresses, your prior knowledge is wearing
increasingly thin. If you have dismissed the recitation as unnecessary,
you may have a rude awakening.
- Even on a single day, the future is not always like the past. Mr.
Thoms is making an effort to structure the recitations so that they move
from the more elementary material to the more difficult. Please have
patience, and your time will come.
- Part of your team responsibility is to become alert to your
teammates' difficulties and to help to overcome them. This suggests that
skipping recitation is not a wise thing to do.
- Office hours are a good place to raise questions that have not been
handled in recitation. This includes questions about Maple. The entire FC
staff has noticed that office hours, both professors' and TAs', are being
surprisingly underutilized this year.