Don’t Question The End Result

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 13, 2019

I work with a group of elementary school students who need extra help in math. Right now I’m doing multiplication flashcards with three students: two girls, and a boy. They’re all brilliant students, but the girls have a lot more self-confidence, while the boy frequently has fits where he keeps saying he’s stupid and the worst at everything. It breaks my heart because he’s shown that he knows the material, but if he gets the tiniest thing wrong — or even if he gets it right! — he goes into a full meltdown. Often he will say the wrong answer just so he can complain about being dumb. 

During this practice, the girls are on a roll, and the boy is getting increasingly upset. He’s getting the answers right, but he doesn’t say them fast enough so the girls are getting all the points. I try to remind him that it’s just a game, and what matters is that he knows the correct answers, but he’s not having it.

After a little bit, I notice that one of the girls is being more hesitant about answering the questions and even starting to answer them incorrectly. Soon, the other girl starts to do the same thing. I realize that they’re doing poorly on purpose so that the boy has a chance to give the right answers.

Normally, I wouldn’t want the girls to sacrifice their practice time, but as the boy gets more and more points, he gets visibly happier and stops speaking poorly about himself. When the game is over and he sees that he won, he’s through the roof! The girls seem genuinely happy for him. I know it’s not the most honest method, but all three of those students are equally good at math; the boy just needed a confidence booster to get him out of his rut.

At the end of the year, the school hosts an assembly where the principal reads the names of the students who tested at or above grade level for math and reading. All three of those students’ names are called, and to see that boy’s smile as he is recognized for his hard work is beyond worth it.

1 Thumbs
444

God’s Dirt Has Been Paved Over In China

, , , , , , , | Friendly | August 9, 2019

(I am outside my university’s research lab building, by the parking deck. I am American, but ethnically I am half Chinese, which some people can spot right away. I’m also a scientist and an atheist. I am walking towards my lab and using the sidewalk next to the parking garage. There is a security guard standing on the sidewalk next to the garage, watching some birds in a patch of grass. I smile and say hi to her. She stops me.)

Guard: “Isn’t it amazing?”

Me: “…?”

Guard: “You can just throw anything in God’s dirt and it’ll grow!”

Me: “Uh… what?”

Guard: “Yeah, you can have any seeds at all, throw it into God’s dirt, and it’ll grow, just like that! Isn’t it amazing?”

Me: “Well, yes, life in general is pretty amazing. But I gotta tell you, not everything you throw in dirt is going to grow…”

(I launch into a very short explanation about plant needs, soil fertility, and crop rotation, which apparently is quite lost on the lady.)

Guard: *quickly changing the subject* “So, you work in that building over there?”

Me: “Yep, I’m a graduate student here at [University].”

Guard: “Are you Asian?”

Me: “I’m half Chinese.”

Guard: “Isn’t China a communist country?”

Me: “Yep.”

Guard: “Well, you have yourself a nice day.”

(She couldn’t get rid of me fast enough! Shun the non-believer!)

1 Thumbs
303

Wasn’t Counting On You Counting

, , , , , , | Right | July 16, 2019

I’m not that great when it comes to math. When I work cashier, I make sure to take everything one step at a time to avoid confusing myself. A customer comes to my register to buy a pair of cheap earbuds. He hands me a $100 bill. As usual, I set the bill on the counter while counting the change. This way, I remember what money I was given.

After I’m done, and before handing him the change, he says that he has a $20 bill he wants to pay with, and he takes back his $100 bill. I start putting the change back in the drawer while I wonder how I’m gonna figure out the new total. As I’m doing this, he tells me that he left his $20 in his car, and he has nothing else to pay me with.

Confused, I say that he can use the $100 bill, instead, but he just repeats about getting the money from the car and walks off. I have a feeling he isn’t going to come back for his headphones, but I leave them at my register anyway.

Later, I wondered if I had been scammed, but I never handed him any money. After reading a few stories on this site, I realized he was trying to scam me but my methods to prevent me from mixing up numbers stopped a scammer.

1 Thumbs
611

Timbits Are Elementary Particles

, , , , , | Right | June 19, 2019

(I am working drive-thru in a popular Canadian coffee shop. A lady pulls up to the speaker and orders a box of twenty timbits. She asks to have the box divided into three bags. I tell her we can do this, but then she goes on and on and about how each bag needs to be exactly the same. Normally, I would tell my coworker to just put seven into each bag, but she is being insufferable, so I ring in a box of twenty timbits plus one timbit extra.)

Customer: “What is this? What are you charging me the extra timbit for?! I asked for twenty timbits to be divided equally between three bags!”

Me: “Well, ma’am, as you already know, twenty can’t be divided equally by three, so we had to charge you for one extra one.”

(I thought she was going to implode. I had never seen someone turn that shade of red before.)

1 Thumbs
693

Training Her Mind With Sudokus

, , , | Related | June 15, 2019

(I am making a day trip with my teenage niece. To keep her busy on the train, I bought a book with sudokus for beginners. Keep in mind that she doesn’t believe in herself and thinks she is bad at maths.)

Me: “Here you go.”

Niece: “Sudoku? Isn’t that difficult?”

Me: “Not really. And these are super easy.”

(I explain how sudokus work and she starts. She completes the grid in no time and with ease as if she is writing a letter. She completes a second and third one in under a minute, sighs, turns the book to the last sudoku and completes that one in record time, as well.)

Niece: “Auntie, this is too easy.”

Me: “So I see. You know what? I’ll buy you a new one for the ride home.”

(True to my word, I bought one that was one level under “expert,” and she happily worked herself through them. Those took a bit more time to be solved. I finished the super easy ones.)

1 Thumbs
453