Contrary to what I thought when I was less follicly challenged, math can sometimes be informative and very rarely even fun. To prove this point, here are some numbers I worked out on the back of an envelope as they relate to Future Generation.
Thanks to our New and Improved Student Tracking Protocols, all students are required to sign out and in whenever they leave the classroom. Indicated on the sheet is their purported destination and how long they were gone. In addition to creating the proper atmosphere of needlessly oppressive bureaucracy that our students will need to be able to navigate in order to be successful later in life, it also provides a handy way to confirm a suspicion of mine.
I have long suspected that the most urgent and common question students ask me is “Can I go to the bathroom?” (Please note that they never use correct grammar and never include a “please.”) After reviewing my Bathroom Accountability State Record I can now say with some degree of confidence that I’m asked this question 9 times a day on average. Assuming that number is relatively constant over long periods of time, this means that in my 16 years as a Future Generator I’ve been asked if my students “can” use the bathroom 25,920 times. If I’m paroled at the end of a standard 30 year sentence, then I will have been asked this question 48,600 times.
Let’s assume that the medical professionals know what they are talking about and most people feel an urge to use the restroom when their bladder has about 10 oz in it. This means that because this is the most commonly asked question I answer in a day my largest immediate contribution to the community has been the production of at least 2,025 gallons of urine.
And people say that teaching is a useless profession!
This actually goes a long way to solving a riddle that I had way back when I was a dewy-eyed and hopelessly cheerful Initially Licensed Future Generator. (People who knew me back then found that sentence hilarious, trust me.) Back then I wondered why veteran teachers were so grumpy all the time. After all, they have a cushy job with decent benefits and all they really do all day is repress every creative instinct in our youth until their spirits are properly broken and they are ready to enter the workforce.
You see, the human mind is only so resilient. Eventually even the toughest person will break. If you ask a person the same mindbogglingly idiotic question every day for years on end something has to give. It’s an aural water torture. In order to survive teachers have to let go of their dreams for a better tomorrow and their capacity for empathy. If they don’t then they risk a total meltdown and either quit, start taking some serious medication, or pretend to take extreme joy in something faintly masochistic (March Madness brackets, for example).
I’m sure that a review of other numbers in Future Generation will yield even more secrets of the Universe. If you have some that you’d like to recommend for analysis then I’d be more than happy to investigate!
And some people accuse math of providing a bleak and emotionless view of the world. What nonsense!
Have a great day, folks!