Friday, March 08, 2013
My assignment this semester is to help out in a Math Lab. (That's MATH, not METH!) Since our clientele has been virtually non-existent during first block, the teacher thought I may be able to drum up business if I hung out in the student cafeteria, where students would be for second arrival and second breakfast. Well, yesterday a bunch of students sat at the other end of the table I staked out. And this morning, one of them said, "You're the Math Lady, right?" (the little title on the sign I drew up to hang on the crate in front of me - it's not as pretentious as the other title the teacher suggested, the Math GODDESS!) I answered in the affirmative. She scooted over with a pile of papers and asked helped in solving multi-step equations with variables on both sides. For instance:
3X + 2(x-3) = 5X - 6
Simple algebra. I helped her remember about her distributive property and watching out for negative signs, and getting all her variables on one side, and about adding negatives. Her friend, seeing the progress, pulled out some of her own papers. But hers were entirely different, dealing with radicals and exponents, and RATIONAL exponents. If you're like me when my mathematically brilliant son talks to me about the "number e", you are probably imitating the teacher on the Peanuts cartoons -
I made a note of what she was facing, and apologized to her, saying I'd been out of touch with Math all last year and had to do some review. I helped her with a couple of simpler ones, and assured her I'd be there Monday as well.
So when I got up to the classroom, I hauled out the two-ton Algebra textbook and looked in the index and turned to the chapter dealing with these mathematical monstronsities. Of course they had some simple examples, and I leanred how to work the graphing calculator to work them out : Given a number to a fraction of a power, you hit the number, then the carat ^ then top number, divide by, bottom number, enter. Okay. But what about THIS one:
(5X) to the negative 5 over 4 power? Well, you change it to the 4th root of 5X, to the negative 5th power, but of course, they don't like you putting a NEGATIVE exponent, so you have to transpose it, put that all under a one,to make it a positive exponent. BUT WAIT! You can't leave it THAT way because the Math Gods don't like radical signs in the denominator! Now, if it was simply a square root, it would be easier, but this is a 4th root, to the FIFTH POWER.
Am I losing you yet?
Yeah, that's what I THOUGHT!
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Back up a few months during the blood drive at my school. I can't GIVE blood, having been to a "malarial country". But I can at least help my long-time friend who's a teacher at my school and helps to organize these blood drives, and gets kids to volunteer so they can earn community service credits for PIG (participation in government). I'm there mostly to make sure the snacks go to people who actually gave blood, and not to other kids who just drop in to see what's going on.
It's a quiet assignment, so I bring my writing materials. Next to me is a young girl volunteer, who's using her cell phone to text. After a bit, she notices that not only am I writing prodigiously, I'm doing so in Spanish, She asked me in Spanish, "Ud. es boricua?" (slang for Puerto Rican) I laughed and explained (also in Spanish) how my Puerto Rican STEPmother helped me to learn, and about the mission work I do in Peru. Then when she realized I had a fiance there, she exclaimed, "You have a long distance relationship TOO!" and told me about her BF whom she never met yet, but they've been "together" a long time - he's in PA, we're in NY. ANyway, we friended each other on facebook, and we give each other hugs in the hall. When she knew I'd brokien up with Levi, she gave me an extra big hug. When she learned I'd made up with him, she was happy for me.
So today I was sitting at my first block assignment in the student cafeteria, in case any kids wanted help with their math homework, and she came over with a sad face. I was with another Christian TA, also latina (she's originally from Cuba), and we invited her to sit with us and tell us what was wrong. So she pours out all about some conflicting emotions, attraction to a guy nearby, but baby-mama-drama...and I think of all the stuff the Lord has let me go through in my relationship with Levi, and He USES it to speak into her life and to comfort and counsel.
God is so COOL!
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Had a little scare yesterday when I got notice that my doctor wanted to meet with me ASAP to discuss results of some bloodwork I had done. Actually, I didn't even know it was specifically about that because I'd also had the pap test. So for the few hours before I could meet with her, I had the luxury of wondering what I would face. WONDERING, I say, not WORRYING. I know this life is temporary anyway, and tomorrow - heck, the next SECOND - is not guaranteed. But I have an eternal spirit that has been redeemed, and when my Maker has determined it's time for me to leave you all, I'll go to Him, and be reunited with some folks I haven't seen for a while. More than anything, though, I will probably be involved in worshiping Christ, unhindered by this world's distractions.
Of course, I considered all the things I want to get done to make sure I don't leave a mess for my kids. I have to get my will updated, for one thing. And I'll want to make sure all my loved ones KNOW I love them.
Anyway, after talking with my gynecologist, I was relieved that, while I had been exposed to some things that I'll have to keep an eye on whenever I go to the doctor, it isn't as dire as the worst-case scenarios that played in my mind.
Friday, March 01, 2013
I haven't left my day job at the high school. But I maintain a resume on Care.com - a wonderful site that helps to hook up people needing services with people offering services. Last year I was helping a little old lady. When she entered an assisted living home, my time with her ended. Every now and then I check in at the site and apply for different things. But for that assignment, someone contacted ME. The same for my present one - tutoring.
I have taught art and Spanish in private schools, and have home-schooled two of my kids. So when I was asked about tutoring two children to help in their regular academics and also help them learn conversational Spanish, I was glad to give it a shot. Last night was my first night with my two pupils, aged 8 and 9. Sweet kids, polite, attentive, fun. During the first hour we wrote introductory compositions (me too - with purposeful errors) and then we proofread and corrected them together. I told them a little about etymology and grammar (puctuation is a weakness). During the second hour we talked about Spanish, noting words and phrases they already knew - or had heard and wanted to know what they meant. We closed with a game of "I Spy" inSpanish to practice our colors.
I got paid to have fun!
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Matt: 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
He didn't say to "get them saved" - "have them say a little prayer". He said to make disciples. A quick trip to dictionary.com - a disciple is "a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower." It lists the verb as being obsolete - "to teach, to train" - but obviously the writers don't hang around evangelical Christian circles, because the verb is still in use.
Salvation is, of course, the first step. But just leading someone to Christ and then leaving them is as bad as having a baby and abandoning it. It's like planting a seed, seeing it germinate, and then letting the bunnies come and eat it.
So, I have me a young disciple - or, I am discipling a young man! And I'm excited about it, because it's the first time I've ever dealt with someone who's not my child or grandchild. I mean, yes, I have spoken in churches - but most of them have known the Lord a while. I'm giving them some "American Food", fresh spiritual bread and meat from a foreign land. But my young student friend isn't ready for solids yet. He needs some "pure spiritual milk" (1 Pet. 2:2).
The cool thing is how eager he is. He came to me during first block when I was in the student cafeteria as "The Math Lady" to help whatever students wanted it in their homework. We went over his homework ( adding polynomials) and he still had time before he had to go to class. So I asked, "You wanna just chill, or do you want to read the Bible?" (See, I'm not forcing it on him!) He said, "Read the Bible!" So I pull out the little Gideons' NT with psalms and proverbs. We're in Matthew. I don't just read it to him - I explain various cultural, historical things. Like, Joseph could have had Mary stoned, and I don't mean with Panama Red! And very likely there weren't just 3 guys following the star - they'd have an entire entourage, camels and such loaded with supplies for the journey. And Herod's soldiers wouldn't wait for (non-existent) birth certificates to show the kids were 2 or under - probably didn't check gender either. "There's a small fry -" I likened the massacre to what happened in schools in our generation.
He came up towards the end of his math class later for more help with multiplying polynomials. We did the work, he returned to class...then he came up with his lunch, and since I didn't have any students, I asked again, what would he like to do. "Let's read the Bible!"
It's like showing nature to a child and reliving the wonder.
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