Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Count Me Out

Rebecca has a class on Monday afternoons that combines writing (yay) with math (boo). Her teacher, who is so fabulously energetic I need a nap after just listening to her lectures, talks for about 45 minutes about grammar and composition, then transitions to Game Time. Talk about bait and switch – it’s not fun game time; it’s math game time. This wouldn’t be such a big deal except that parents are required to attend the class. They’re also required to help with the math games. This is a major problem for me.

Monday's game was clever: using a regular deck of cards, you slap down four cards and the kid adds them up. Kings are 13, queens, 12, jacks, 11 and aces are 1. For each set the student answers correctly in the allotted time they get play money to be used at the class store later in the year. And the kids want that money. They are a very competitive bunch.

So here’s the catch: the parent putting the cards in front of the students has to be able to add more quickly than the students.

I really don’t have to tell you what happened, do I?

I was the card flipper for Rebecca and another student. He did the math super-quick; I was struggling to get the first two cards added by the time he’d finished the fourth and wanted more cards. After three sets of me counting on my fingers (the third set was a K, J, 9 and 8 - I nearly burst into tears) I just took his word for all the sets and quit trying to add them up.

I have no idea if he was telling the truth. By the end of addition time I think he knew I wasn’t even trying because he was going really, really fast. And then when we moved to subtraction I’m almost positive he snowed me. But I didn’t care. I was just praying for those three minutes to pass faster than any three minutes have passed in the history of the universe.

When it was finally, mercifully over I was sweating and nervous and a wreck all over and to add insult to injury I was out of diet Coke. I took a potty break, gathered my wits about me and headed back to class. Thankfully Game Time was finished. And it’s a good thing because I know I certainly was.

After class I told the teacher I would never, ever do that again. Never. Ever. Let me talk about nouns, verbs, direct objects, heck, I’ll even diagram a sentence or twelve, but please, do not ever make me the Flip Mom again. I simply cannot handle the pressure.

And I know the kids are on to me…