Measure Theory and Disposable Teachers

Wheeden and Zygmunds book
Wheeden and Zygmund's book


I’ve been working hard this week at learning more about measure theory. It’s a really interesting research subject and there are quite a few things that I didn’t know about it. In class, we are currently seeing the Lebesgue measure and topics. I’ve read up on the Borel, Haar, Radon, and Daniell measures.

I’ve got quite a few books in this area, including Paul Halmos’ Measure Theory¹ that I got for $6. The Measure and Integral² book that is used in my real analysis class is finally available. I have it photocopied, but I’d rather buy it. It’s a bit more expensive, but not that much. It’s $46. Einstein has it for $69.

The real analysis professor spends 3hrs a week copying that book onto the blackboard. It’s really strange. He doesn’t give any further examples and quite a few of my classmates abandoned the class after the first week.

As I mentioned before, the classes are what you make of them. At my level, having a great professor doesn’t really matter, unless he’s my thesis adviser. I’m actually lucky that 2 out of my 3 profs are good. Since I am going to specialize in analysis, probably abstract analysis and topology, the real analysis class is fundamental to my mathematical development, as it introduces all sorts of concepts that were probably not seen at an undergraduate level. We’ve started the Lebesgue integral and I hadn’t seen it before.

I’ve noticed that since I do work in my books almost everyday, it pays off when it comes to class time. I understand the concepts and demos. Speaking of which, I managed to snatch a ebook version of the problem and solution book of Principles of Real Analysis by Aliprantis³.

Doing homework and working in my books also means reading up on the subjects on Wikipedia and Wolfram Mathworld. I like how Wikipedia’s articles go into a lot of detail, that’s usually not useful for casual readers, but nice for the mathematically inclined. This first and cursory reading and re-reading is essential in grasping some of the more complex and abstract concepts, that are usually not that well explained in class. I find that working in multiple books also helps out, as the viewpoints of different authors on a subject can lead to a better understanding of it.

One of my past profs never really explained the Hausdorff dimension right. It took us quite a while before we could understand it correctly. That prof fancied himself as a top educator, but he wasn’t in all actuality.

So what do I have to do this week? Finish algebra hw and start real analysis hw. That’s about 50 56 problems in total. Luckily, I’m well prepared. I’ve found the full solutions for both volumes. I still have about 20 algebra problems to finish. I’m hoping to conclude this set by Thursday afternoon, before class. The prof is about to finish the 1st chapter, which was basically a refresher on undergrad algebra.

I’m also keeping track on all of the extra work that I’m doing. I plan on using an journal just for that, so that I can track all of my interests.


I need to go by ESlite again. I need a few Rhodia pads, including the №8, as well as an MD Paper notebook. There also a Lamy Safari to buy. With the 15% student discount, things are relatively cheap. I also want to pick up a few more pens and pencils, including the Rhodia black pencil that I saw last time, a Staedler inking pen for writing, hopefully in archival ink, and a few other odds and ends. My wife is always surprised at how organized I am.

Speaking of which, my wife is in Slovenia for the week at a conference. She kept telling me that she was going to be gone for 8 days, and then, since the weekend, the story had changed. She was going to be gone for 7 days now. Something didn’t make sense. We checked her tickets last night and lo and behold, she was leaving at 10:30PM! Luckily, she had the afternoon off to pack. If I wouldn’t have been there, she would have missed her flight. That Jo Rees!


It’s getting cooler in Taipei, cold for locals, refreshing for Quebecois. I’ve actually had to close all of the air vents on my motorcycle jacket and zip my removable lining back in. It’s toasty. I’m still in t-shirts and jeans.

Well, let’s say that temps hover around 17-20C right now. It’s really nice. Taipei in the fall is a lot better than during the summer. You don’t sweat as much.


Disposable Teachers

{ Ed.Note: I’ll probably expand on these thoughts in further posts, but for now, this will serve as an introduction. }

I’ll probably be starting work this week at a small school in Sinjhuang. It’s not that far and I’ve got about 10 hrs to start out with, with more coming my way. Sounds just about right. I wasn’t really looking forward at working part time in a big cram school. They have a lot of rules and regulations, and sometimes the kids can be really hard to deal with since they know what to do to get into trouble. I’ve had some trouble kids at a big chain school. I didn’t mind teaching there, but my experience had left me feeling somewhat bitter. We’re all disposable teachers to them. If there is a problem, they’ll just replace you.

I’ve also learned to never really trust what the teaching directors are saying to me. For example, if one school asks me to reserve time to sub,  I won’t. I’ll continue looking for other things. I was screwed over once by Alphaville during the summer. When they came back and promised me more hours in August, I had already secured other jobs. I wasn’t surprised when their hours fell through. They like messing with you, making you know that you have got no control. It makes them feel good to belittle foreigners, especially the ones that aren’t Caucasian.

Teaching directors are sometimes good, but my experience tends to show the contrary. They lie to your face constantly to get you off their backs. They try to handle you, manage you out of their hair. I came back from Canada recently. I was a bit surprised by the amount of BS that I got from that school. It didn’t stop. Anyway, I quickly wiped them from my memory and moved on.

That’s one thing that I didn’t miss while I was in Quebec. Things like my wife, my dog, and my cat are quite important, but we won’t be living in Taiwan for much longer. In a couple of years, we’ll be out and happily gone to greener pastures.

* * * * *

[¹]: Springer Verlag, Graduate Texts in Mathematics Vol 18
[²]: Measure and Integral by Wheeden and Zygmund
[³]: At Academic Press, by Charalambos Aliprantis


2 responses to “Measure Theory and Disposable Teachers”

  1. Mathematical Teaching Methods « memoirs on a rainy day Avatar

    […] My real analysis professor spends 3hrs a week copying Measure and Integral by Wheeden and Zygmund onto the whiteboard. [²]: A lot of swearing was involved on my part. I was […]

  2. Differentiable Manifolds « memoirs on a rainy day Avatar

    […] Anyway, this topic is most interesting, but the prof is boring. He spends 3hrs a week copying the Measure and Integral² book onto the blackboard. Stupid, but I haven’t missed a class. I noticed that some […]

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