----------------------------------

With hindsight, it’s obvious to me that my
real crime was to be different from other math teachers: different from people
who didn’t have the imagination or the knowledge to be able to do the kinds of
things that I could. From this point of view, I could finally understand, much
later, a couple of other incidents which were baffling to me at the time but
which fit into a consistent pattern of behaviour. These confrontations
involved, of all people, mild-mannered Dennis Cameron, journeyman carpenter and
Facilities Tech program co-ordinator, who literally flew into a rage on two
occasions when he encountered me out in the shop doing real-world math
exercises with my students.

One incident involved stairway
calculations. Dennis had given our students a worksheet. Every stairway has
exactly six parameters which define its dimensions: total rise, total run,
number of steps, riser height, etc. Given any three, the other three may be
calculated by plugging the numbers into certain formulas. That was the gist of
the worksheet.

At the end of the period I thought it might
be a good idea to go out into the building and measure the dimensions of an
ACTUAL staircase, to see if they agreed with what the formulas said. When
Dennis saw me doing this, he basically freaked out and ordered me back into the
classroom. It sounds crazy but that’s what happened. And it wasn’t the only
time.

A couple of months later the students were
given an assignment to draw a floor plan of the mock-up house which they had
built out in the shop. I thought we ought to start by going out to the shop and
taking measurements. Of course, the students had all kinds of trouble reading
the tape measure. But I perservered with them until Dennis came upon us.
Again...he freaked out. “Who told you to take them out here? They have the
dimensions in their notes...”. Well maybe they did and maybe they didn’t. But
was there really any reason for him to lose his temper? Except...there I was,
the math teacher, out on the shop floor again with my students. Something was
obviously very wrong with this picture, from Dennis’s perspective.

## No comments:

Post a Comment