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Teen Experience: Chinese Math

Goldy Klein

“Girls, we’ll do it slowly. You’ll see. The first answer was correct,” my teacher says. But I can tell she’s getting annoyed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


FFinals! End of the year finals. I don’t know about you, but I despise them. At the end of the year, who’s interested? Not me! The truth of the matter is, though, that I probably wouldn’t be interested in the beginning of the year either. I can’t say for sure, because I’ve never tried. I’ve never even heard of finals at the beginning of the year. They probably wouldn’t be called finals, because they wouldn’t be final.

Anyhow, we had one today. A big one. Did you ever sit in a chair for two hours straight, a school chair no less? And all the while slave over the answer to this and that? If you didn’t feel like jumping out of your skin afterward, you’re probably an angel. I can’t say that I’m an angel, because I was definitely jumping out of my skin. 

After a final, you usually go home, right? But no, this time we’re staying in school for lessons afterward. Oh gosh, no time to relax my frazzled brain. And we start with, what else? Math! If you find a subject I have less patience for, you probably don’t know me. So I’m stuck in a complicated class with negatives and positives and graphs and angles and triangles and… you get the picture. My teacher is for sure speaking Chinese because I can’t get it straight. Next we do examples in the book. Okay, finally finished! That took forever. Not forever, thank goodness, or I’d still be doing those examples as we speak. 

“Okay, girls,” my teacher says, “my book doesn’t have the answers…” 

Really? I’m shocked! I was sure the teacher’s edition has everything! 

“So we’ll go according to what most of you have. Majority rules!” 

Majority rules? I think most of us want to tear up the textbooks and go home. Can we do that? 

“What’s the answer to number ten?” asks the teacher. 

My classmate rambles off a list of negative and positive integers. I check my list. Oh, gosh. I got every single example wrong.

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