Wednesday, March 27, 2013

If This Is The New Math, I Don't Get It

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted a “Life In Oklahoma” blog—heck, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted any blog at all—largely because I am currently working not one, not two, but three different jobs.

That’s right, after months of not working at all and then scurrying from one crazy gig to another, I find myself definitively over-employed.

Here’s what happened…the local university offered me another writing class. Since it only meets once a week (albeit for three hours), I agreed.

Then I got a callback on a job application that I turned in months and months ago…for a part time online monitoring job in which I spend hours at a time admiring and then deleting penis drawings and other questionable content from a website geared toward children (you can read all about that here or here). It seemed interesting and I got to work from home so I went for it.

Shortly after signing a 6 month contract with the penis patrol, I got a call from the publishing company that I have subbed at several times over the last year. They had a position open and they could be flexible with the hours but they needed me to start immediately—while I was still under contract for jobs 1 & 2.

“You have to take that job,” Opie said. “First of all, you like it there. Second, you need to actually interact with GROWN UP PEOPLE once in awhile.”

Apparently, he finds it disconcerting when I spend dinner explaining to him all the things the animals and I have talked about during the day. “You know they can’t actually talk, right? RIGHT, KIMBERLY?” he has asked more than once.

And if you think those kind of stories bother him, you should see his reaction when he walks in after a long day of work and I yell things like “You would not believe how many penises I’ve seen today! It’s like penis-palooza!”

So, I signed on with the publishing company and now I’m working 3 jobs. Which is kind of exhausting…but on the bright side, screaming “I have three jobs!” wins a surprising number of arguments before they even start. Like Opie will be all, “Ewww…did you know that the milk expired two weeks ago and has actually become a SOLID?” and I’ll start waving my hands in the air, yelling “Milk? How can I possibly think about milk right now? I have THREE JOBS! How many jobs do you have?!”

And, miraculously, the milk carton just disappears from the house, never to be seen again.

It’s great fun, make no mistake.

As far as the jobs themselves, they’re great too. Teaching college is still not as different from teaching high school as one would expect…as evidenced by the fact that I still have a surprising number of students who don’t realize that COMING to class and DOING THE WORK are necessary components of passing the class.

Like this one girl who sent me an email back in February after missing 3 weeks in a row. I have copied it verbatim below:

“Sorry I was not at class the last few weeks I was not feeling well. I know you don’t want us us to miss any more than one class so what I am really trying to ask is do you want me coming tonight even though I am still feeling sick? You probably don't want me to come. Question what did we do the last weeks and tonight since you probably don't want me to come?”

But she was wrong. I did want her to come, if only because I find it challenging to re-teach 12 hours of class in a single email.

However, that was 4 weeks ago and I haven’t seen her since…until last night. Just in time to get her midterm report.

“This can’t be right,” she said. “This says that I have an EIGHT PERCENT.”

I assumed that she was expecting it to be lower but, no, she was under the impression that after coming to 2 out of 9 classes, turning in 3 ten-point assignments and taking—yet failing—1 quiz that she would at least be passing.

At this point I inquired if she happened to be enrolled in a math class this semester and, if so, how that was going for her?

It is interesting to note that this particular student doesn’t think I am funny AT ALL…Especially when she started asking how many points she needed to get in the next few weeks to pass the class.

“Well,” I said “we have about 1000 total points each semester. We have about 500 left…you have 42 points total…”

I trailed off, thinking she might realize that her Comp ship has already sailed for the semester but she obviously just thought I was too stupid at math to figure it out myself. So she got out a piece of paper and began doing a little computing…”So,” she said thoughtfully. “I need to get 558 points to get a D but 658 points to get a C!”

“We only have about 500 points left,” I reminded her.

“It’s going to be tough,” she agreed. But walked out in a much better mood, presumably coming up with some elaborate MacGyver-like plan to get at least 115% on every assignment we do for the rest of the semester.

Or maybe her plan is based on those strange “imaginary numbers” that I’ve heard about but never really understood.

Either way, I feel a nearly overwhelming urge to look up her Algebra teacher and find out if I’ve missed some groundbreaking new twist in simple computations.

I have a feeling I’ll be seeing her again…

In any case, that’s part one of the latest Life In Oklahoma…but stay tuned, I have a pupdate on Peek, stories of mole murder, and a contest on who is the worst patient coming soon!

kimbo325 is a writer and a teacher (as well as an internet moderator and publishing company worker) laughing her way through life. She’s not too great at math herself but even she knows when to throw in the towel on a failing grade. To read more about her crazy life, tweet with her on Twitter, follow her on Facebook at!/or leave a comment below.


  1. Sounds like she was trying to use subliminal messaging. "You don't want me to come, you don't want me to come." Don't be surprised if you wake up hearing that. Good luck with the rest of the semester!

  2. I missed you, but that was worth the wait!

  3. Darn, I can hardly wait for pupdate on Peek, and I personally love mole murder mysteries (or any mystery, for that matter). Teaching must be a whole other world experience but I think I might could relate to the worst patient ever sagas..All for now, Laura

  4. Math was never my strong suit but I think I may have had an edge over this scholar. Nice read. Stopping by from the blog hop.

  5. I'm with Jen, totally worth the wait. I was waiting to for the part where your student asked for extra credit assignments or to turn in missed work for partial credit...but I guess that would be to logical

  6. hi, i'm following the "i don't like mondays" blog hop. i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it.

    new follower bev

  7. That totally cracks me up I would NEVER had done anything like that, and truly wonder where this kid learned those non-skills. I wonder what she wants to be when she grows up. Will you ask her and let me know?

    (found you through I don't like Mondays)