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.

This one really happened in one of my classes back in 1990 or 1991. My differential equations professor had written a very complicated theorem on the board that was true for all functions ; unfortunately, thanks to the passage of time, I forget the exact statement of the theorem. I do remember that the theorem was quite complicated, and one of my classmates initially had a hard time understanding it. My instructor tried explaining for a couple of minutes, to no avail.

Finally, with some exasperation, my professor tried a different approach. The theorem was supposed to be true for all functions , so he asked for a specific example to try. So he asked, “Give me a .”

One of my classmates immediate answered, as if a cheerleader at a football game had made this request instead of a college professor, and yelled out: “GEEEEEEEEEE!”, with his arms raised to the sky.

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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