It occurred to me last week to remind students that I don’t hate the world. I was reiterating that they could ask me a question any time, any place. I warned that they might see me scowling as I walked across campus. This is because I scrunch up my face when I am working on a problem – maybe how to teach a unit better, or how to organize a meeting’s agenda, or maybe just seeing if 7 divides 812. I like working on problems, at least most types of problems. I may look unhappy and unapproachable, but I am really enjoying what I am doing and anyway interruptions are okay since student learning is my first priority.
I didn’t add, though this is true, that they could also see me with a smile on my face. If so, I am probably working on the phrasing for a joke or funny story – one that I might never tell. In sum, my inner thoughts are sometimes congruent with their physiognomic manifestations and sometimes not.