that does not compute


I know a lot of things. I am a teacher librarian, it is my job to know a lot of things, or to know how to find out information about a lot of things. So, why then is it that the area that I am asked the most questions about in the library is mathematics?

I see a student in the library, and as soon as I draw within speaking distance, they ask me for help. I get so excited when someone asks for me assistance. They love me, they really love me.

“Do you know physics, Miss?”

“No” sigh.

“Do you know polynomials and rational expressions, Miss?”

Do I look as though I know polynomials and rational expressions is what I want to ask, but I settle for, “I have an arts degree, my teaching areas are English and History.” Sigh.


“No, but I can tell you about the major causes of World War One!” I say, hoping to find some middle ground, some slither of information I can pass on.

“I don’t take history, Miss.”

“You read though, don’t you?”


Yeah, they love me, they really love me. In my dreams.

10 thoughts on “that does not compute

  1. I adore maths. I read recently that mathematicians see beauty in maths much as art lovers do in painting or sculpture. I know for sure that as a teen and young adult I could immerse myself in trig, polynomials, vectors, sets, stats and the like and find a safe and smooth running world. My daughters are both wading through algebra now and I genuinely enjoy sitting with them. History I enjoyed but not for the fine detail that pub quiz addicts trot out. It shows us the frailty of humans and their immense strength.
    Information is now at our children’s fingertips in a way we couldn’t have imagined as kids. Online tutorials support teachers work. Full texts and précis of historical text is there in front of you after tapping a few buttons, not, as it was for us, at the end of a long wait because someone else had the book out.
    Just this afternoon I have shown a daughter what an artichoke looks like and my wife the front of my daughters ski hotel in Austria.
    The skill and wonder of your work is, as you say, to show them how to use the paper and electric resources to do their assignments not to “know trigonometry”
    Oh, and I’m sure they do love you. Lol


  2. You just send those math inquirers right over here. I can’t remember WWII, but I can poly nomials with the best of them. A few hours of math stick, and they’ll never want to leave you again!


  3. *sigh* As a history and English lit major myself, I wish I’d taken more math, or at least worked harder at it. My parents however were as clueless as I was at the subject, so I got neither help or encouragement at home. Now they have Khan Academy online, which I consult when I feel like tackling equations. It is said that learning new skills keeps the mind sharp, and while math isn’t really a new skill, it’s one I never mastered.

    It is true that children love you as long as they need you…. Once they’ve figured out how to drive and make money, bye-bye love.


  4. They’re kids. Their only goal is to find your weakness and exploit it. When I was i school, we’d make it our years’ mission to find out the different teachers first names. Then we’d yell it at them from across the school or hallway. Ah….fun.


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