Saturday, January 13, 2007

This ain't no Harvard Entrance Exam

I'd call myself a nerd if it wasn't for the fact that I'm really just nerdY.

Because nerds are good at all manner of math and science and can eloquently explain any given concept comprising those disciplines in a flawless essay for their Harvard entrance exam.

And, you know, get accepted.

Me?

1160 SAT, baby. And I am not so sure my intellect has increased all that much since then.

But I am nerdY. No doubt about it. I'll watch the history channel over American Idol any day. Any day.

The thing is, I like me some thinking. That's what I like. Stretch my mind a little. But NOT TOO MUCH, because I'm only nerdY, not "a nerd."

My nerdIness, of late, has taken the form of Yahoo! Answers. Have you seen this? I click on over there and read all the questions people are asking in the chemistry section. (I miss talking chemistry, you know?) Some of the questions are funny - straight out of some high school kid's text book. Some of them are, um, well not chemistry. (Dude, "6 is what percent of 24?"? For real that you need to ask this, but then you list it as a chemistry question?)

I don't answer a ton of them, mostly I just read other people's answers, sometimes just to see the approach they took.

But my nerdIness was in full swing when I answered a question for someone about the periodic table, electron configurations, and reactivity... and I ENJOYED IT. Yes, I did. Somewhere along the way, I started feeling a bit nostalgic about teaching those same things many moons ago... thinking about some of the students I would have taught them to. (See? No one who gets into Harvard ends a sentence with "to.")

Later, I was browsing around at some of the answers to questions that had "expired." Here was one of them:

Does square miles*depth = cubic ft.?

Can I just go right out of my ever-loving mind? See, at this point the nerdIness completely gives way to the teacher in me: I don't know what bothered me more, that the person didn't have enough tools in the ol' noggin to figure this one out, or that NONE of the answers people gave made any cotton picking sense AT ALL! And it killed me that I could not offer this answer:

Square miles multiplied by a depth (also measured in miles) would give a volume in cubic miles. In order to get an answer in cubic feet, the depth must be measured in feet and the square miles must first be converted to square feet.

As I am contemplating all of this, it made me wonder if maybe, just MAYBE, I miss teaching a teensy weensy little bit.

Until I made ice cream with the kids today - the way I used to have my chemistry classes make it. And the O.N.L.Y. memory I had (which would not get itself out of my mind, by the way) of making ice cream with my students was one in which this goofy kid spilled salt into his ice cream mixture without realizing it, and then about gagged when he tried to eat the ice cream.

And the fact that THAT is the only real memory I have of my five YEARS worth of making ice cream with my chem classes tells me that....

No, I don't really miss teaching so much.

I'm just nerdY.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Robin said...

test...i just tried to comment and AGAIN it booted me out. so here goes

Sat Jan 13, 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

stupid blogger. =) I really just wanted to say HI! (Since I know you were SOOOOO worried about me not commenting and all. Tee Hee.)

Sat Jan 13, 09:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoy the way in which you tell/write stories. You do it well, in my opinion...I also think you are a superb teacher. I would have learned so much more had you been my chemistry teacher. But then that would have meant you were significantly older then I, and we wouldn't have been peers, and could never be friends,etc.,etc. BUT I am sure I would have remembered something from class other than how to use the eye-wash.

Sun Jan 14, 11:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that above comment was mine, by the way.
~Shelby

Sun Jan 14, 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Shalee said...

1 mile = 5280 feet.

I couldn't have answered the entire square miles*depth=cubic ft. problem, but I would have known SOMETHING to muddle along...

And I loved chemistry. Mainly when we tried to not blow stuff up. :)

Love you in all your nerdY glory!

Wed Jan 17, 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Milehimama said...

Yahoo! Answers is like crack for nerdY types. I had to wean myself.
Thanks for visiting my blog!
Mama Says

Fri Jan 19, 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Cup-a-Joe said...

As a teacher let me make the following comment about you feeling like you might miss it a teensy-weensy bit...

"ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKIN' MIND!!"


By the way, why are doctors, "practicing doctors?" Why is it, doctors can practice, but the rest of us feel the pressure to get it right? Hello, there are life and death issues here, stop practicing and get it right would you??

Tue Jan 23, 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Luisa Perkins said...

Did you make ice cream with liquid nitrogen in your classes? P and I did that with Christian's kindergarten class; the kids about went out of their minds. It was pretty awesome, dude.

Tue Apr 03, 05:52:00 PM  

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