I am an "abnormal" graduate student in the sense I had been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome by a professional psychiatrist when I was in college. In college days I mostly study mathematics on my own and covered the subject by reading textbooks/lecture notes online, and I mostly learn by having private conversation with the professor instead of going to the lecture. However after entering graduate school I noticed for teaching undergraduate students, this approach does not really work. Last semester I tried to teach measure theory to my students in the probability class, and the result was in the end of the semester they still did not get what expectation really is.
This semester I have changed my approach and assuming that they knew nothing more than pre-calc. As a result my teaching performance has improved. But I still suffer from problems I assume normal instructors would not encounter. For an extreme example, I met a student asking me for quiz contents tomorrow and who makes the quiz, because the ones I gave tend to be more difficult. I responded that any event is likely including I die because of traffic accident or suicide because of depression, and in the above case there will be no quiz to prepare for.
(Added: When he pointed out this was quite bleak point of view, I suggested that) another quite unlikely event is I won Megamillion tickets and decided to quit grad school, so there will be no quiz too. (Added: Similar to this I also quoted possibility of me being late or there is a class cancellation due to snow storm. When he pointed out that no one can foresee these events, I suggested that is why having health insurance that enable me to see a therapist as well as covering physical diseases is important.) I suggested that he should prepare for anything that might happen with the quiz, and take consideration of the probabilities to maximize his performance of quiz with the time and energy constraint available.
(Added: When he suggested that bell curve is all he needed to pass this course), I also told him real life events often do not follow Bell curve and central limit theorem has limited value for random variable with no expectation exists. To make sure he is not confused, later at night I sent an email to the class repeating my points and suggested everything in the book we learned so far can be tested, and the bonus problem content can be coming from anywhere.
Later I received an email from the instructor of the course, claiming that the student was so unhappy that he suggested to remove me as an TA, because I made him "extremely uncomfortable" and "a bit scared". Further the student suggested I am "literally crazy". But I could not notice anything illogical in what I told him or craziness out of me. The instructor and I had a down to the earth conversation on this. I promised that this would never happen again. However, to be a responsible person I am confused what exactly went wrong. I suppose this is not an isolated event because the instructor told me he has received "many complaints" from students already. My questions are as follows:
What did the student went through? Why is he unhappy? I did not use any profane language or threatened him in any way. I think what I said are largely "abstract nonsense" everyone knows. In fact, I think I was being very polite for speaking with him on this boring topic for 15 minutes or not appear to be unhappy with him at all. I thought he would think like what I did during my student days, that before a test students wish the class might be cancelled and one can spend more time to review.
Has there been anyone else in this forum also having Aspergers syndrome? Can someone describe his/her experience and make some suggestions?
Is there anyway for me to avoid this kind of unwanted events in future? There is no prospect that I can "convert" to a normal person. And I do not want people to be unhappy with me for trivial events like this in future. I could have dismissed the case as the student being irrational, but I think there might be something deeper into it. So I think I should ask.
Even if there is no one mentioning this on my future teaching reference, would I be qualified for a teaching position in future once I got out of grad school? I ask because it is literally impossible for a graduate student in my university to get a serious research oriented post-doc unless he or she did something very remarkable. While I am not diffident about myself, I feel I should be serious with my future teaching career now, since I would have to teach as a post-doc as well and there will more teaching load.