Note: Some of my readers have mentioned that I might get more responses if I wrote slices that were a bit more…succinct. With that in mind…
It’s toward the end of math class, and one of my students, Ryan, comes up to me as I’m working with another student. He is very excited.
“Mr. V, you’ve been teaching a really long time,” he informs me.
“That’s true,” I admit. “What led you to this realization?”
“Well, I’ve been looking at these pictures on the wall.”
“Ahh, I see.” Like many teachers, I have a wall with all of my class pictures from earlier years. They go back to the 1985-86 school year. “Okay, I guess that’s some good evidence.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty incredible. You’ve been teaching for 66 years!” he proclaims.
“Really?” This comes as a bit of a surprise to me, since I have yet to reach 60 in human years. “What makes you say that?” I ask.
“Well, I was looking at the pictures, and I counted that there were 33 of them.”
“Uh huh. Go on.” I resist the urge to tell him that I am actually missing two of the years.
“So, I took the number of pictures, and I multiplied by two, and I got 66. So that means you’ve been teaching for 66 years.”
“I’m sorry,” I say, “I don’t see why you did that calculation.” This was math class, so, while I was pleased with his multiplication skills, I was eager to hear the logic of his formula.
“Okay, let me explain,” he says in a professorial tone. “Look at the labels at the bottom of each picture.” He gestures like a teacher pointing to a detail that a careless student may have overlooked. “You see, they show the years. And there are two years on every picture.” Here he holds up two fingers so I may count them. I nod, having successfully counted his fingers. “Look at this one. It says 2018-2019. That’s two years, so I multiplied by two. You’ve been teaching for 66 years.”
We’ve been noting in my family that our stately old canine friend, Boo, has a right to be moving a bit slowly and demanding special dining privileges these days. He is, after all, 112 in dog years. I may never reach his record of longevity, but at least now I can say that I’m pushin’ 70 in school years.