Saturday, December 30, 2006

Teacher Can't Add Fractions

And she's not just any teacher, she's the head of New York City's AFT affiliate.

I agree with Mike Antonucci that "gotcha!" questions are generally meaningless--I don't remember the name of the new President of Mexico, for instance, or even the Prime Minister of Israel. I don't recall which amendment is the 7th Amendment. There are any number of questions that someone could throw at me for which I wouldn't know the answer.

But this isn't a memorization question, it's a skill question. It's like asking the 17th letter of the alphabet--I don't know what it is offhand, but I can certainly figure it out quickly (it's q). It's pathetic that anyone with a college education, much less a teacher, can't perform an elementary mathematical operation. Notice I didn't say any adult should--I narrowed it down to a college graduate.

Sad. Ties in with this post, don't you think?

Joanne (see blogroll at left) has more details in her post on the topic. According to Joanne, Ms. Weingarden said she'd need paper and pencil to solve the problem 1/3 + 1/4.


Pseudotsuga said...

As much as I hate to admit it, I had to look up the steps to solve that problem, since it has been many, many years since I have had to add fractions. (Hey, I teach English, not math.) I'm not sure that such a "gotcha" question as this is a good indication of incompetence. I doubt that she (nor I) have to do those things every single day.
However, she seemed to be afraid to admit that she didn't know, or had forgotten. Instead, she blathered a bit, and gave a soft, PC answer. That's a bad sign.

Darren said...

Do you know which is larger, a 3/16 socket or a 5/32 socket?

La Maestra said...

3/16 (aka 6/32).

You're absolutely correct about it being a basic skill. Sooooo frustrating... And I *am* an English teacher (albeit one married to a former engineer/science teacher.)

However, I disagree about the 10 amendments--there are some basic things we should know as citizens (that foreigners who want to become naturalized citizens are required to learn) and the Bill of Rights is one of those things.

Darren said...

I read the Constitution about once a year, just to restore my faith in our republican form of government. I agree that the amendments are important, but at least I can name all rights guaranteed in the 1st Amendment--and I'm becoming friendlier and friendlier with the 2nd as time goes on!

Pseudotsuga said...

Do you know which is larger, a 3/16 socket or a 5/32 socket?
Aha, I know the answer to this one!
I know that 3/16 is equal to 6/32, which makes a 3/16 socket a bit larger than the 5/32 socket, and thus more likely to round off the nut that requires a 5/32 socket.
But my car uses metric fittings, so chances are neither would fit on the nut or bolt in question...