Wednesday, September 23, 2015

High School Geometry = Sexytime?

Two days ago, I came in a classroom and found a phone someone left behind on a desk. I woke it up to see if I could determine whose it was. The wake screen showed the last several WeChat messages received, which of course were all in Chinese, but I could see the names of the people messaging the phone's owner. If I could figure out who they were, I could tell them, "One of your friends left her phone in my class." So I started writing some of the names on the board to ask my students if they knew any of them.

"Do you know this person?"


"What about this person?"

"I think that might be a tenth grader."

"What about this person?"

"That says 'WeChat'."

As I looked through the list of recently-received messages, one stood out to me, because it had a colleague's name in it. (Some background on this colleague: he lives right across the hall from us, but he's quite reserved and private, so we rarely saw him for the first year we lived here. Our family started calling him "The Unicorn," because seeing him was about as rare as a unicorn sighting.) Anyway, this message said: Chinese Chinese Chinese [The Unicorn] Chinese Chinese Chinese: "I want to stick my finger in your...." And then the message summary had run out of room.

What?! Evidently The Unicorn had said something in class that I very much needed to know the rest of.

The next day I was walking down the hallway and I saw The Unicorn. I told him what had happened and I said, "I need to know what the rest of that message said."

And now, in Paul-Harvey fashion, the rest of the story.

He's a math teacher. His students were learning about discontinuous functions. He was teaching them that, at the discontinuity, one portion of the graph is going to have an open point and the other portion of the graph is going to have a closed point. He told the students their open points would be "holes." Because students sometimes draw ambiguous graphs with the hopes of taking credit for wrong answers that look correct, he told them, "Don't make tiny holes. I need to be able to see your holes. I want to be able to stick my finger in your holes."

He said, "When I said that I thought, 'That was terrible,' but when I looked around, nobody reacted, so I thought I was safe." But he wasn't safe; it was quickly posted on WeChat.

And now you know the rest of the story.

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