I really don’t like numbers. And I definitely don’t like math. Which is totally awesome now that Mike and I tutor once a week and my students have math homework up the wazoo that I’m supposed to help them with every. single. week.
How do I say this mildly…
I don’t know how to do it.
Last week my student wanted to sit upstairs. (My worst fear – it’s far away from all the other tutors - aka – people who know what they’re doing.) We sat down on a bench talking about how apparently I've been living under a rock because I don't play soccer and how all the fish in Florida look like Nemo from Finding Nemo, when he pulls out his worksheet from his red backpack and I spot none other than LONG DIVISION.
Panic immediately sets in. I whip out my phone, telling my student I’m just checking the weather – what? – and I Google “long division for dummies.”
The little search bar starts moving, but Sprint 4G is not kicking-in like they promise it will on the commercials.
“I don’t know how to do this…what do I do?” my student asks.
“Uhhhh didn’t your teacher tell you how? You tell me,” I say, buying for time.
Move you stupid bar! Why, oh why, do I pay an extra $10 a month for some silly “data” plan when I can’t get data when I need it?
“No, I didn’t learn this. I’m tired,” he says after plucking at a pills in his sweatpants for a few minutes.
Typical. Why am I not surprise at this answer?
“Well, just try it. Give it a shot; I’m sure you’ve got it in you,” I say distractedly.
The seconds tick by and my little bar is not moving – I can’t even see my search results yet – I cannot let this kid know his tutor has no idea how to help him with his homework. I already failed last week when (with a different student) I had to ask a fellow tutor what a “math sentence” is. My student laughed and laughed when I told her I needed to “go get a drink” and she overheard my pit stop with the tutor. She didn’t know what it was either; she just couldn’t believe that I, the genius “tutor” didn’t. How is that fair? I’m not a teacher – I work with words all day! It’s been years since I’ve done - well, actual math of any kind - and it seriously looks about as easy to understand as Webdings. Plus, in my defense, I was only double checking...
Anyway, back to the long division - low-and-behold another student walks in to the upstairs room and, who is here to tutor him but -- my husband! Hooray! The day is saved!
I spontaneously yell, “SWITCH!” and run to Mike’s student, saying, “We’re playing a fun game tonight kids; everyone’s switching tutors!” I give Mike the stink eye that tells him to play along, and like the good husband he is, he goes to work with my student without blinking an eye.
A few minutes in and I haven’t heard Mike say one word to the student. I’m sure he’s thinking, making sure he gives him thoughtful instructions.
But then, my engineering, math-minded, number-loving husband looks at me and exclaims, “Holy crap, I don’t know how to do this anymore – do you?”
Oh dear. Looks like this couple needs to go back to elementary.