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The “New” way to teach math….

Alright, so here’s the deal. I seriously suck at math. Numbers and I have a love-hate relationship and have apparently since I was a little girl… I mean, I knew my alphabet and recognized words (in both French and English) by the time I was 3, but according to my mom, I couldn’t count to 5. That’s how much my brain just despises numbers.

In high school, I failed math (the most basic math too), forcing me to go to summer school in both grade 10 & 11. Thankfully, we were the last graduating class in Manitoba who were able to graduate without having to take math (let’s just say I graduated from high school 16 years ago in June. You do the math) … but I still took it, and yep, you guessed it, failed that too. Really didn’t help that my teacher for grade 12 smelled like cough syrup and/or booze first thing in the morning. I would just show up to class, and sleep or socialize because from what I remember, he didn’t really teach. Or maybe I was just sleeping throughout his lessons? I can’t remember, my memory is a bit foggy. I’ve tried to avoid math since graduation. I know it’s impossible since I do like cooking and more recently, will be helping my dad out with redoing the kitchen in my house. And well now, it’s impossible for me to avoid since I work in the education system. It’s literally everywhere.

Back when I was in school, the way math was taught was simple. 20+40=60. There, done. Easy peasy. Right? We were taught our multiplication tables, how to do long division, basic money math etc. The first time I saw one of the teachers I work with teach something to a class of grade 5 & 6 kids, my facial expression was basically like this:

One of my coworkers looked at me and laughed, asking me if I understood what the teacher was talking about. I looked at her and said something along the lines of how “everything is confusing” and it “makes no sense to do it this way”. Because to me, it was like someone was trying to explain quantum physics (or something completely ridiculous like that).

In case you’re not a parent with a child in elementary school or aren’t around in the education system, this is how they taught it and how they teach it now:

I don’t understand why the fuck they make you do more work than just finding the simple answer? Why add a bunch more numbers to find “any possible answer” that could equal the actual answer for the original question? Like come on people! Why?!? *pulls hair out, screaming* To me, math is just a bunch of numbers splattered on a page, teasing me because it knows it confuses me to all hell.

I was talking with a friend about this exact situation a couple of weekends ago and she said basically the same thing, it makes no sense. What so ever. I guess call me “old fashioned” but I prefer the way I was taught it. Yah I know I said I could barely count to 5 when I was a kid, but if I was taught this “new” way back when I was in elementary school, I very likely would have made the exact same face as I did a couple of weeks ago.

Math + me = don’t get along. That’s my math.

Kids say the darndest things

Little kids make me laugh. I’m surrounded by them on a daily basis now, and honestly some things that they say make me raise an eyebrow, and wonder “wtf? where did that come from?” I know their imaginations are in overdrive at that age, they run wild and free. There are some days I wonder what’s going on in their minds when they sit there and laugh for absolutely no reason. For whatever reason, they’re drawn to me, like a magnet.

I, years ago, worked in a daycare. I remember it was one of the breaks (either spring or summer) and so we were doing “theme days”. The day I’m thinking of in particular was a science day, geared towards pre-school kids, and one of the experiments was buoyancy. We got the kids to make little ships with egg cartons, and a sail. I put water in the kiddie pool and we were off! The kids pushed their little “boats” around the pool (ocean), laughing and smiling. One of my coworkers decided to throw a wrench into their ocean by dumping handfuls of ice cubes (icebergs) into it. One of the boys (he was 3 at the time), nudged his boat along and it hit one of the icebergs… and naturally, toppled over. What he said next was what surprised everyone. He looked up and exclaims, “That was like the Titanic!” Curious of his answer, I looked at him and asked him “what happened with the Titanic?” As he was fixing his boat, he said, “well… it was a big boat that hit an ice cube! Wait, I mean an iceberg! And then it sank, like my boat.” I’m guessing his parents taught him about it, but it really surprised us.

Another instance is when I woke up one morning with a popped blood vessel in my eye, it was completely bloodshot in the inner corner, it was really gross to look at. I had to go to work at the daycare that morning, and well, of course that’s the first thing the kids notice. Some of the kids asked me why I had “poked myself in the eye so hard to make it bleed”. hahaha.

The first year I worked in an elementary school, one day my student was away so I was just helping out in the class (32 kids, and 5 adults in the room at all times, it was pretty busy!). I was working with a boy who has FAS and we were working on ELA. The kid was trying his best to remember my name, so we went through the alphabet. I started saying the letters and when I got to the letter F, he looked at me with bright eyes and goes, “your last name is Fish! That’s it!” (it’s not) – For the rest of the year, he only called me “Ms. Fish”, he couldn’t remember what my real last name was, but to him, and only him, I was Ms. Fish.

I’ve had some of the younger grade kids come running up to me at school already and either pull on the sleeve of my shirt and tell me something that I’m supposed to know about already, or give me a hug and tell me that they’ve missed me, it’s insanely cute. Considering they’ve only known me for a couple of weeks.

I’m definitely looking forward to the day I have kids. They’re always entertaining.

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