Teaching & School

Doing the Math

March 13, 2021

They all come in from recess, sweating, breathing hard, slam dunk their bodies into their desks, too worn out for sure now, no energy left for math, and man it’s hot. They wipe brows, close eyes, mutter to themselves incomprehensibles and then pop an eye open to look at me, standing there, a little breathless myself to be sure. I say, welcome back folks, great to have you, hope you enjoyed the game, looked rowdy and fun to me. They grunt, some grin, some grimace, they know what’s next.

I say, alrighty then, folks, please take out your math. They nod slowly, and begin to move.

One gets up to sharpen his pencil and takes a little vacation at the bulletin board, never seen that one before, been there for 4 months, but never noticed. Another, the little blonde with the pretty nose, grabs a Kleenex and discovers gold in them-thar-hills. The lanky one, down at the back, takes all his books out, stacks them high on his desk and ponders the small architectural wonder, nonplussed by the sight, apparently. Curly, over in the left corner, decides now would be a great time to tie shoes, a little loose on the left heel they are.

And on it goes, while I steam like a southbound freight, wheels spinning on the tracks, the wagons refusing to move, my whistle an empty bleet on the northern plain. School has been in session for all of two weeks, I’m the new guy, the new teach, with lots to learn. But right here my ire is stirred and I decide it’s time for a life lesson.

Listen up folks, yes you, the nose blower, the shoe tier, the book stacker. Eyes open wide, heads up now, this could possibly be entertaining. I have their attention now.

I say, ok, you just had your time, right?, recess with all its guts and glory, you could run around, yell, exercise those vocal cords, stretch the muscles, do what you wanted. They nod, yeah, right-o teach, great observation. Well then, I say, warming to my theme, I’ve got news for you. This is now my time. I didn’t waste your time did I? When the bell rang, you ran, I didn’t stop you, trip you, stand in your way, charge a fee, nuthin’. You got your full allotment.

So here’s the deal. I was hired to teach you something about math, among other things and teach you I will, by hook or by crook. When the bell rings, recess is over and now this is my time. You got that? My time. I will respect your time, you respect my time. When I say “get out your math” you will then get out your math. Immediately. If you don’t, and they look bemused now, almost enjoying the tirade, you will stay in with me on your time and we will talk and perhaps teach you the math then.

Welcome to life, kids, this is how it’s done. Time is limited, everyone has only so much, and there’s a lot to do. You will have to respect other people’s time the rest of your life if you want to be successful. Be on time to work, be on time to appointments, to meet the banker, to do that interview. So we’re gonna start right here, you respect my time, I respect yours. Thank-you.

Now, my dear friends, get out your math.

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