Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Can't Do Math

Sadly with *gestures wildly* everything going on, I have been "persuaded" to attempt elementary school subbing. I mean, I could stay home and wait for a high school gig to open up, but I've decided that I'd rather work right now. 

Last Thursday, I caught a fifth grade class. 

The teacher had everything set up in Google Classroom, with slides explaining the day and everything. Alas, I did not have access to a computer that connected to the in class projector, so while I could log in and see what the slides and everything said, I could not project it to the class. 

This meant a lot of hand waving and "make sure you're on slide number five" or whatever all day. All the slides were available to them, so I could read what it said and hope that they were also looking at the slide I was referring to. 

Most of their assignments were in the computer, so it wasn't a big deal. Until math time. 

They had a math test the next day. The assignment was to review the concepts that would be tested. 

Well, math needs to be demonstrated. I did have a white board. So, I pulled up the problem on the slide via my computer, wrote it on the board, and had them walk me through it. 

We got through adding fractions. Then we got to subtracting fractions. I put the problem on the board. 

First we had to find a common denominator, which is taught somewhat differently now. Once I dug down, it was the usual thing, but the getting to it was different. Simpler, kind of. 

Anyway, we got the common denominator, and then it was time to put the fractions together. And the answer I got was nowhere near the choices for the multiple choice. 


And that's when they pointed out that I had added rather than subtracted. Oops. 

As one of the concepts to be tested was estimating and finding the "reasonableness" of an answer, I pointed out that clearly I had gone wrong when it was clear I was nowhere near the answers given. 

I'm so glad I don't get embarrassed by getting something wrong in front of a class. I figure it's a good way to let them know that mistakes aren't something to be ashamed of. They happen. We catch them and learn from them. 

They asked me if I "knew" math. I don't know if they believed me when I informed them that I have, in fact, passed four semesters of calculus. 

They should have done well on that test.


  1. Am impressed with your four semesters of calculus! Its good to be comfortable with public mistakes and how to react when you make them. It's really a good skill to master early on, being as how we're all fairly faulty.

    1. I'm going to make at minimum one mistake a day. If I got flustered when I do that in front of a class, I'd have burned out a long time ago.

  2. Subbing in an elementary and/or middle school is hell for ones who really don't love this challenge.

  3. I'm sure they won't be chuckling about the teacher who couldn't do math for weeks to come.

  4. You should have said you were testing them to see if they would know where the mistake was lol. Math is just evil anyway!

  5. Four semesters of calculus. I'm impressed (being someone who hit that math wall in 6th grade and never recovered). That mistake was a good teaching method although it wasn't done intentionally. They obviously were paying attention. Win! Nothing to be embarrassed about.

  6. As soon as I saw Fractions written, my eyes went into the back of my head. As a kid, I would have been tickled pink if my teacher had to be corrected.

  7. I could use a review on fraction. This time I would of paid closer attention.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  8. Thank goodness you have options for the answer, or you may not have realised!

  9. It's amazing how you keep calm. I'm every impressed.

    1. Oh, you don't see me in person. I talk a good game, but I doubt I'm as calm as I present myself.


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