Greater Than The Sum

| IL, USA | Learning | August 8, 2014

(I’ve had severe difficulties with math my entire school career. In fifth grade, we were starting to learn long division, and everything my parents have done to help me has been to no avail. My mother finally goes in to talk to the teacher and beg her to get me a little extra help.)

Mom: “She just needs a little extra help with her math.”

Teacher: “We can’t help her. Her grades are too good.”

(I was making straight A’s in every other subject, but was close to failing math.)

Mom: “What do you think I should do, then? I’ve tried everything. You marked her answers wrong when I tried to show her an easier way to do the work, even though they were right.”

Teacher: “That’s not how she’s supposed to do the work.”

Mom: “She doesn’t understand the work! What do you want me to do?!”

Teacher: “I don’t know. Send her to [Tutoring Institution].”

(This tutoring institution is infamous for being outrageously expensive and for having tutors talk down to the students as though they’re toddlers, no matter how old they really are. My mother is absolutely enraged. The teacher must’ve noticed this, because she started backpedaling.)

Teacher: “I know it’s expensive, but…”

Mom: “Expensive isn’t the problem! You are her TEACHER! Teach her! She only needs a little extra help!”

(My mom won that argument. The teacher’s aide stayed inside with me every day at recess to help me with my math homework. I passed math with a B+ that year because of her. I’m still not good with numbers, but I would have failed fifth grade math if it weren’t for this incident!)

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  • Mars Jenkar

    Sometimes they grade on technique as much as results. In some of my math classes, you got points off your total for not showing your work (less than if you actually get the questions wrong, but still a substantial reduction).