In this series, I’m compiling some of the quips and one-liners that I’ll use with my students to hopefully make my lessons more memorable for them.

One of my great pet peeves while I’m teaching is the perennial question “Is this going to be on the test?”, usually after I’ve proven a theorem. Over the years, I’ve come up with the perfect response:

Put this on the test… boy, that’s a great idea.

Then I’ll get some paper, write a “note” to myself to place said theorem on the test, and place it in my pocket. All the while, the rest of the students are grumbling things like “Way to go,” “Thanks for giving him the idea,” and the like.

Since pulling this little song and dance routine, nobody has ever asked me a second time if something’s going to be on the test.

I'm a Professor of Mathematics and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of North Texas. For eight years, I was co-director of Teach North Texas, UNT's program for preparing secondary teachers of mathematics and science.
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