Friday, October 10, 2008

Me not so suhmart no mor

Remember how a few days ago, I was all on top of my business and shouting "yes, I can" from the rooftops?

Nothing like a little slice of humble pie to bring you back to the reality of, "Umm, no, I really can't."

You see, I volunteer to help in my kids' classrooms. A lot. I like to be there, see how the teacher interacts with the students, and see how my kids interact with other kids.

Plus, I really have no excuse this year, what with them in school all day now.

So, I went to help in McKay's class for the first time this year. As soon as I enter the classroom, his teacher hands me a heavy math book. She points out the page the students are currently working on (which is multiplying with decimals). She smiles sweetly, and asks me if I'd feel comfortable teaching this concept to one of the groups, while she works with the other.

Panic immediately sets in. Math has never been my strong suit. But this is fifth grade math. Surely, I passed fifth grade math at some point in my life, right? I smile, and tell her, "Sure, no problem," and head for the white board.

To my surprise, things move along rather well. I find that I am actually pretty good at teaching the math. McKay gets over his instinctive embarrassment and even makes eye contact with me a few times, which is a huge victory in and of itself.

Well, just about the end of our time together, the teacher returns to the classroom with her group. At this moment, one of my students raises her hands and says, "Um, I got a different answer for that one." Before I can respond, the teacher notices my problem on the board, comes over, erases it, AND RE-DOES IT FOR ME.

Apparently, I am not so good at the fifth grade math.

I made a REALLY STUPID error and did not have my decimal in the right place. I knew it as soon as I looked at it, unfortunately a little too late.

But there, in front of my son, and all of his classmates, I looked like an idiot. I felt so dumb. I have no doubt she is wondering exactly what I had been teaching while she was out. I wanted to tell her that, "YES! I REALLY DO KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!"

But instead, I smiled, thanked her, and went to my car in a cloud of stupidity and shame.

And so, next week when I go in, I fully expect her to have a desk with my name on it.

Think McKay will be embarrassed if I have to repeat my fifth grade year?

36 comments:

Christy said...

I'm sorry, but that is just not right - a teacher asking you to TEACH FOR HER??? She's the one who should feel ashamed! She certainly didn't handle that situation well either. I think you deserve lots of chocolate, or ice cream, or both. And a good chick flick.

wenderful said...

Well, look on the bright side. She probably won't ask you to teach math again soon. You may want to brush up on your copying and cutting skills though. :)

3leftturns said...

I beat the smart kids, I beat the smart kids! Ow... I think I broke my Wookie.

Can we do illustrations?

How to they taste, Ralph? Good?

They taste like BURNING!

He's going to smell like hot dogs.

Mommy, can you open my milk?

Ralph, I'm not mommy, I'm Miss Hoover. Why don't you sleep while the other children learn.

Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a viking!

Princimple Skinner, Principal Skimper! I found something!

Ralph, that's your trowel blade, it fell off the handle.

And I found it!

The doctor said I wouldn't have so many nosebleeds if I kept my finger out of there.

Jen said...

I volunteer in the classroom for the same reasons you mentioned. I do get a little anxious when it comes to the small group work. Long a, hard e - I don't remember these things.

I'm banned from math homework in our house - my husband always jokes that I need to retake fractions and decimals.

Annemarie said...

Don't feel stupid. 5th grade math IS hard. My husband is a math guy & he has the hardest time (re) teaching it to our boys. I don't even stand a chance in that arena.

Next week maybe she'll give you a bunch of papers that just need "Way to GO!" stickers on them...easy peasy.

Lisa-Marie said...

Maybe I better just keep volunteering in the kindergarten, even after my kids have moved on.

Your post reminded me of an embarrassing moment I just might have to post! I promise...it'll make your math skills look great!

And remember this bit of advice my dad always tells me, hey wait, you said it yourself even better... "They're all too self-absorbed to pay any attention to me."
-Stie

She probably has not had a second thought about the little blunder! No worries!

Annie said...

I swear I have nightmares JUST LIKE this. It would happen to anyone, on the spot, in front of all those fifth grade eyes. She never should have sprung that on you.

Next time she'll give you a little fair warning. Guaranteed.

Becky said...

That is pretty good. What is it about 5th grade that just JUMPS to a new level?

You really did know how to do it, ...so anyone can miss where to put the decimal now and then can't they? That is what calculators are for. And finally, that was so dumb for her to ask you to teach, cuz i swear Landon has a new way of mult. those decimal problems. It will make an awesome story for McKay someday, for sure.

Melain said...

I'm impressed that you even agreed. I would have passed in an instant without a moment of shame. If you have to pull a Billy Madison though, try to get into a different class then your son. That might diffuse the situation.

gab said...

I'm pretty sure that little girl had a cell phone calculator hidden in her desk!

Laurie said...

My first grader is always telling me, "It's okay to make mistakes because that's how we learn." :)

Robyn said...

So what did McKay have to say when he got home? That's pretty funny. It would've been one thing if you really hadn't known, but it's way worse when you actually do know what you're doing, but do it wrong.

♥Shally said...

It could be worse.

You could have a teacher that writes a letter home explaining:

"The children loose points in my class when their out of their seat."

Ugh.

Emily said...

As a first grade teacher I sent home a note to my students' parents with "there" instead of "their" or maybe "to" instead of "too." One of those silly mistakes that I NEVER usually make and if so I ALWAYS catch in the multiple times of proof reading. This mistake . . . the principle caught it for me after I had already sent it home. What an idiot! Plus, I didn't have the guts to tell him his entire first grade staff (all 5 of us) actually read and reread that note before I sent it home. what can you do . . .

Bridget said...

That was so not fair of McKay's teacher to do that. I would at least need a night to read up and prepare.

CJ, the Purple Diva said...

You are too funny! I am sure this was not funny at the time. Bless your heart!
Hmm, well look at this way...at least McKay won't be asking you to help with his math homework, and if he doesn't get it right, all he has to do is tell the teacher his mom didn't know how to help him with that! I am SURE she will believe him!

Kristy said...

Take heart, Stie. I've been teaching for 13 years, & co-teach with a girl who's been in it almost as long. There has been at least once that our honors' class has corrected us. Smart alacks. ;)
Try multiplying in front of about 28 7th graders & making a mistake. In all honesty, it is harder than you think to teach, write on a board, & facilitate group discussion & problem-solving. I think the teacher could have handled it better. She could have even helped you to save face by going along with you making mistakes to see if they could find the error. I would have had your back, my friend.

Please tell me in one of the earlier comments that a teacher did not use "loose" where "lose" should have been. I try to tell people to remember "loose" rhymes with "moose." Lose has the hard "s" or "z" sound. Sorry, it's a stupid pet peeve of mine...even had a principal do it. Obviously I did not correct him as I still have a job!! LOL

diane said...

One of my kid's teachers had the ability to reduce me to an insecure third grader each time I saw her.
Maybe you can get out of volunteering now.

Michael said...

She should've just left it how it was. The kids will never remember...or they'll be screwed up for life. One of the two!

andrea said...

between your shameful educational abilities and annie's shameful calendaring skills, i'm suddenly feeling like quite a success in my life.

and you've read about my week... so you know how bad that statement really is.

Kirby3131 said...

This is exactly why the TV show, "Are you Smarter than a 5th grader" is such a hit lol

I;m proud of you for making only one mistake!

Terra said...

OMG - This is exactly the sort of thing that would happen to me. I am an educated woman but when it comes to my daughters homework my mind melts and I have to take quiet time to reflect and remember how to do things. I do a lot of volunteering too but I am better suited for the big picture projects rather than the daily grind! I give you kudos for being there!!! At least the days of dunce caps and standing in corners are over!

Lauren in GA said...

Don't feel too much shame...I have to drop out of helping with math homework around the end of 3rd Grade. My son said the other day when I asked him if he needed help with his homework, "Well...it's math...do you want me to wait and ask Dad when he gets home?"

So...there you have it in a nutshell....I mean...I could have used a calculator... but uh...I just decided to bow out as gracefully as possible...

melissa ( : said...

My boss asked me to average some numbers the other day... Not just the normal "add them all together, then divide..." No... for some reason these were different averages than I've ever heard of before. I had no idea where to begin.

So what did McKay say when he got home from school? I'm sure he loves you just the same.

danandcindy said...

Stick to writing stupid blog posts...

Julie said...

Oh crap!!! This is something that could happen to me. Seriously!!! I suck at math. I enjoyed your post.

queenieweenie said...

I pride myself on the fact that I got through BYU without ever having to take a math class...I don't pride myself on the fact that I can't help my kids with their math after 3rd grade. So sad.

Diane said...

That fifth grade math can be a killer. I'm impressed that you stayed in the classroom when she asked if you could help with the math part. Most of us probably would have run out the door and never looked back.

Amanda D said...

5th grade math would totally kill me. I took pre-algebra for 3 years! Hopefully when my oldest is in 5th grade the teacher will need help with cutting and pasting! I can do that. :)

Hazen5 said...

Ugh, Math! Not my cup of tea, I feel so bad for you. My kids already know to wait for Daddy when they need help with math!

kathi said...

want some chocolate?

Tiffanie said...

Hey Stie,

Completely off topic. But I gotta tell ya, I started reading the Twilight Series last week. Already on Book Two.

Can. Not. Stop.

Thanks for posting about it here. It is truly a delicious series.

:)

Tiffanie

Rosie said...

Isn't there a t/v show to the tune of most of us not being smarter than a 5th grader? If you were on that show, and that was the first mistake you made, you would probably be a quarter of a million dollars richer right now.

Olivia said...

Your post made me laugh. I would never be able to tutor even third grade math, so I applaud you for getting it mostly right. That's why I took the LSAT. No math!!

It's my first time reading your blog. Thanks for a very entertaining time!

Kenny and Linsey said...

Pesky decimal points -- I can think of hundreds of points on lost on math tests because I failed in that area, over and over and over...

Since when do parent volunteers teach math or anything else anyway?

Wendi said...

I am confused.
I have helped in the classroom many times, but never have I had to get up and TEACH math to the students.
So glad that has not happened yet.
I do not excel in Math.
Even 5th grade.