Calc III.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I mean, really, it’s beautiful.  It’s all of the intricacy of Calc I, but in 3-D.  Calc III can dance because it has the freedom of space.

I have decided to audit my undergrad classes. I’ve been teaching algebra for seven years and had three children.  Information has leaked out over the years.  Calc III is the first one that fit into my schedule.  I was encouraged to audit with a friend, but she bailed.  She had already whetted my academic appetite.

I have two observations from my first night.

1)      I have no idea what an audit student’s etiquette should be.  I knew the answers to the questions that the professor asked the class (“Riemann’s Sum!”  “Bounded!”  “Magnitude!”  “Intermediate Value Theorem!” These stayed tucked away in my head).  I didn’t answer because I’m not sure what the etiquette is for an audit student.  (Also, how often do people audit Calc III?  I know that this is odd, but why is it?  I’ve heard so many math majors say, “Oh, it’s been years since I used it.  I don’t remember that anymore.”  They often go into a more lucrative field.  What a waste.  Taking the time to learn is the reason that we owe it to our brains not to unlearn. I digress.)

2)      I made the twenty-ninth student but only the fourth girl.  The vast majority cited an engineering major.  There were three (3/28, less than 11%) females enrolled in the class.  I remembered my original Calc III class.  The professor, a woman, told all of us to bring our middle school nieces to “Girls’ Math Day.”  A male student disputed, “That’s sexist.”  The professor responded, “Look around.”  There were seven females in the class of fifty—a slightly better ratio.  She continued, “I rest my case.”  However, in 2011, women still aren’t pursuing careers that require calculus?  I understand that women who choose to get a college education are more likely to choose careers that are the bedrock careers, education and nursing (we have no society to build without those who nurture our minds and bodies).  I’m not saying that I intend to lead a revolution, but I (the pot calling the kettle black) just find it puzzling women are not naturally infiltrating these careers.