Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 05 2011

Love and youth: perks of teaching math

My kids have decided I must be dating Drake, the rapper. This is obviously true, since I am their math teacher and his song with Rihanna includes the line, “The square root of 69 is 8 something, right? Cuz I’ve been trying to work it out”. I am excellent at pretending the song is not dirty and appreciating that he’s doing middle school math in his music. It just so happens that our mutual appreciation for estimating the location of irrational numbers results in him being my boyfriend. Nice.

About an hour later, someone in my next class asked how old I am. The first time I had to duck that question last year, the first unreasonable-enough-to-know-I’m-lying-but-not-going-to-answer-your-question age that popped out of my mouth was 47. I stuck to it, which this year makes me 48. That’s the answer I give every time anyone asks my age, so obviously I gave it in class today. (Sounds better for a teacher than 23, doesn’t it?) Eighth graders always try to be smarter than you, even when they know you’re lying and not trying to convince them, so a kid quickly asked in what year I was born. Clearly I’ve encountered that question a million times, so I can answer “1962″ in a heartbeat. I’m just deflecting, not actually trying to fool anyone (I tell any kid who asks that it’s not true), but one girl was so stunned by my quickness with the year that she momentarily decided it must be real. “You are?! You’re older than my DAD!” In my straightest face, I told her I was actually old enough to be her grandmother, but doing math is like eating vegetables or getting Botox and I’ve done so much math in my life that it keeps me looking young. “So now go back to your worksheet, because I know you’re not ready for wrinkles yet.” She did.

This is why I LOVE eighth graders. They still think the world is small and their teachers are big. They roll their eyes at everything, but they’re actually still not really sure where the borders of reality are. Their minds are always going and they say everything that passes through them. They mess with you, and you can mess with them right back. Never a dull moment.

2 Responses

  1. G

    I have been telling my class of 2nd graders that I am 13 (I was asked how old I was and that’s what came out of my mouth). My birthday is coming up…the kids are convinced that I am turning 14…they keep saying things like “You’re younger than my sister,” or “Miss, you’re not 14, you’re more like 30, which in my case is a HUGE compliment, because I am quite a bit past 30…maybe they just can’t see well.

    You’re right…never a dull moment!

  2. Ms. B

    Whenever my 7th graders ask I say that, “That’s a personal question, but I’ll answer it anyway. I’m 105.” They one of them asked me what year I was born and of course I was ready with 1906. Once he did the math and found out 2011-1906 is 105 he seemed pretty convinced.

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