I had a kid fill out a math assessment for homework. There was some new content in it, so I told her if she really didn’t know how to answer a question, just write “no idea” underneath, and I’d help her in the next session.
So in the next session, I taught her the strategy she needed to use to answer the “no idea” question. Once she had a firm grip on the strategy, I said, with optimistic enthusiasm, “Ok, so let’s go back to that question where you wrote ‘no idea’ and see if we can change that answer!”
So she changed it.
Because come on that’s fucking hilarious.
Our entire apartment is just filled with post-its of me trying to figure out 4th grade math.
About to play a math game…
Kid: “Can we use the dice app on your phone again?”
Me: “No, we only did that last time because I forgot the dice. But now I have them, so we can roll them ourselves.”
Kid (sigh): “But it’s so much easier to just touch your phone screen.”
Me: “But it’s so much nicer and more interesting to be a human who does old-timey human things, like hold real dice in your hand, and then extend your arm ever so slightly to roll them on the real, live floor. Plus they make a sound and everything!”
Kid: ( . crosses arms. pouts.)
We’re so fucked.
I’m not gonna lie, I almost miss this.
Teaching kid a new math skill…
Kid: “Can you show me one more time? I’m not ready to try.”
Me: “I showed you several times– at this point you will learn best by doing it yourself. Just give it a try!”
Kid: “But sometimes I get afraid to try.”
Me: “There is nothing to be afraid of. Trying is how you learn, and if it doesn’t go the way you want it to, that just gives you good information for how to try again. Learning and success is a process, kiddo!”
Kid: “So you mean if I get it wrong, just learn from it?”
Me: “Yes! You got it!”
Kid: “When you say it like that, it doesn’t sound so scary.”
Me: “Exactly. It really is THAT easy. Just try! I promise you, you have nothing to lose!”
(2 hours later)
Therapist: “So have you taken any steps to pursue a writing career?”
Me: “No. I’m too afraid to try.”
Client, Age 3 (Yes. Three.), during a “greater than/less than” math lesson….
Kid: “You’re 35?!?! My mom is 31, and that is LESS THAN 35!”
Kid: “But she has THREE kids and you have ZERO kids and zero is LESS THAN three! Zero is NOTHING!”
Kid: “You have NOTHING!”
I texted Jeremy for assistance with a particularly confusing 8th grade math problem (shut up), and I will admit that he was super helpful and did give me the answer.
But this is what happens when you ask a PhD student for help.
That moment during a tutoring session when you ask the kid a math question, and Alexa answers for him.
Sitting at a Starbucks communal table reviewing some math work. A random guy is sitting next to me and eyeing my papers.
Guy: “Looks like some tough math. I don’t know how to do any of that stuff!”
Me: “I know, right? 8th grade math is no joke!”
Guy: “You’re in 8th grade? Really? I assumed high school, like maybe a senior!”
Me: (Confused stare. Not sure if he’s serious. Realzing he is.)
Guy: “Jeez. Should you be sitting here doing homework all alone? Where are your parents?”
Me: “I tutor an 8th grader. That’s what the papers are for.”
Me: “I am 34 years old.”
Guy: “Well this is embarrassing.”
On so many levels.