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 following:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.