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A Negative Teaching Experience

| Learning | October 2, 2014

Teacher: “Remember, you have to subtract the small number from the big number. If you see someone subtract a big number from a small number, switch the equation around because that’s not right.”

(I raise my hand. The teacher calls on me.)

Me: “I thought that when you subtracted a big number from a small number, you got a negative number.”

Teacher: “No, sweetie. That’s not how it works.”

Me: “Then what is debt?”

Teacher: “That’s a grown-up issue.”

Other Student: “Or you’re lying to us because you don’t think we can understand negative numbers, when she clearly can.”

(The other student got sent to the principal for insubordination, but came back to class after he explained what happened. That teacher soon changed her explanation to ‘we’re not covering that yet’ instead of ‘negative numbers don’t exist.’)

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