You want to complain? Look at these shoes!

Often I actually enjoy teaching. I have my share of good students who try to understand the material. I got three or four perceptive questions today.

I had a student once who wasn’t really very good at algebra in general; But he was a wizard with synthetic division and long division of polynomials. Any problem that could possibly be solved by synthetic division, and some that couldn’t, and he’d be right in there dividing. Factoring? Never. Invert and multiply? Not him.

And he was an intelligent and resourceful guy. Well he’d have to be, wouldn’t he? He’d have done very well if he’d just mastered a few more techniques. Besides synthetic division, he could also do mixture problems. A grocer mixes nuts costing $5.26 per pound with nuts costing $7.95 per pound to make 10 pounds of a mixture costing…; He knew those cold.

So when my students’ tests are less than satisfactory, I remember the good questions that they’ve asked me. I remind myself of the innovative solutions to simple problems that they’ve shown me. I recall what a poor student I was.

When I’m worried about the fate of our republic in the hands of voters who think a billion is two million; When I’m appalled by the state of education today; Whenever teaching starts to get me down; Then, instead of ranting about my students, I visit Tall, Dark, and Mysterious; because she’s way better at it than I am.

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