Monday, August 4, 2008


Today we returned to school and looked at our schedules—both students and instructors get new schedules every five weeks the way our enrollment is set up. Most of the new students have to be shown where their new classes will be and introduced to their teachers. Most of the instructors know ahead of time what they will be teaching and which room will be used for their classes.

Today was a surprise. As of Tuesday night I will be teaching business math for the very first time. Oh joy to the world. [Read with heavy sarcasm…] Even though I can balance a bank statement, I prefer to have Quicken do it. Insurance and long term loans with interest? Not if I can help it! SO, tomorrow in my “spare” time I will brush up on the chapters we will cover in class on business math.

When I was hired on to teach at a business school, I taught keyboarding, transcription (medical, office, and legal), filing, and then WordPerfect. Now I teach keyboarding, advanced Word, transcription, English, and, apparently, business math. Oh well. It is always interesting when the instructor is as busy learning how to do the work as the students are.

While I had time to think about teaching this new subject today, it occurred to me that I have taught many subjects in the past with just as little preparation as I have had this time. For instance, I taught “How to open your mouth and swallow” to three little people. We even took that subject farther by going into advanced vegetables and meats. Then there was “learning to share,” “learning to walk,” “learning to ride a bicycle,” and other assorted subjects.

My students were a captive audience in a way. They had to live with me. And worse, they had to eat what I cooked until they learned to cook for themselves or got old enough to drive to McDonalds by themselves. They learned to be pretty independent in their “classes.”

That independence was pretty hard on all of us. They could do their own laundry and keep up with their own books, but they also wanted to go places that didn’t include their teacher. One of them went to the University of Texas at Arlington for “advanced” classes. He learned that some of the lessons he had picked up came in pretty handy. The day he ran downstairs from the room he rented, picked up the owner’s mother, and carried her outside while the house was burning was one of his better reminders of lessons learned. Sometime in his youth he had learned to care about others.

Then there is the daughter who learned to be a caring friend who allowed her home to be filled with the friends of her children—all over upstairs and down. When she is outside with her boys, children seem to come out of the woodwork to come play in her yard. I suspect she remembers her yard at home being filled with children from all over the neighborhood when she was a child.

Finally we chuckle over the most ironic lesson that we see being learned by our youngest “student.” He is helping raise two teenagers. Rolling eyes and shaking head with a big evil grin on my face. Yes, indeed! He is “paying for his raising”! Learning discipline is never easy, but having to discipline a teenager is even more difficult.

Yeppers. Business math should be a snap.


Lance said...

She was able to walk out of the house....but it was still scarey. Thanks for the lessons by the way. (Not to late to say that is it?)

Carla said...

This could be an advantage for your students: because you are reviewing just ahead of them, you may have a good sense of what will be difficult. Sometimes veterans forget. (Have fun with it!)