Two days a week, I work in a teacher resource/educational toy store, just for fun. Educators of all kinds come in looking for advice on which resources would work best for their student's needs. I've never had an experience like this one, in the 3 years I've worked there.
A retired male educator (former grade 12 math and science teacher) comes in looking for grade 5 level math resource books for a tutoring gig that he's going to be doing. After a good 15 minutes of gathering up appropriate books for him, he starts flipping through. He gets to a page in one of the books which focuses on word problems. (SIDENOTE: I barely passed, but I did pass, Math 30 in high school and did well in math up until grade 10). The educator stops on a page and, while I'm still scouting the shelves for more resources, reads this out loud: "How many decades are there in 7 centuries?" The problem was, he didn't just read the word problem. He read it and then glared at me with expectant eyes... he actually required me to answer that on the spot at the snap of his fingers. The other problem was that I didn't realize I was going to have to do math, and under pressure, my mind went blank! All I could think was "OMG, he's testing me on a grade 5 question, but I'm so flustered that I can't even think of how many years are in a century!" but what I said was "Uhhhhmmmm... I didn't know I'd have to do math!" as my face turned all shades of red.
Then this conversation took place:
Teacher: Come on, you can do it. How many years are in one century?
Me: (Thinking, holy schizz, this guy's not gona let me off the hook). I blurt out:100!
Teacher: How many years are in a decade?
Me: 10! So there are 10 decades in a century! See, I can do math... *awkward laugh*
Teacher: No that's wrong because the question asked how many decades there were in SEVEN centuries...
Me: (Now turning shades of purple) SEVENTY! The answer's 70! I SWEAR I passed math!!
Teacher: Well, ok.. I'll believe you..... But I'm not so sure anyone else would.
*another awkward giggle*
*panic sets in*
*feeling really, really dumb*
*deep shade of maroon*
Thank GOD I was able to then redirect him and start getting him to walk away from the resource books and onto a different topic (geology). He told me that I should have my son join some gold panning group, and he was quite pleasant about it. He left after having said that he needed to better assess his student before settling on a book to buy.
Up until now, I've totally held my own with every single educator that's come into the store. This guy... eeesh. This guy was something else. I truly hope never to have to assist him in finding resource materials ever again. He should at least have to phone in to say he's coming in before he gets there so I can brush up on my word problem skills.