Back in March, my mom texted me happy St. Patrick’s Day and asked, “so what percentage Irish is the baby? Only a math major can figure it out!” I took this as a challenge, and after texting my mother-in-law for information, I did some calculations and came up with this:
Phoebe is approximately…
- 1/4 Italian (25%)
- 7/32 German (approx. 21.9%)
- 3/16 Scottish/Irish (approx. 18.8%)
- 5/32 English (approx. 15.6%)
- 1/16 French (approx. 6.3%)
- 1/16 Danish (approx. 6.3%)
- 1/32 Polish (approx. 3.1%)
- 1/32 Czech (approx. 3.1%)
Now that the baby is three months old I’m slowly getting back to my paying jobs, one of which is writing math curriculum.
And last week I created an assignment called “Melting Pot Math” in which the students have to figure out the “fractional ethnicity” of a person based on the countries his great-grandparents are from.
My bosses are happy to have me back; they continually praise me for my ability to come up with creative math projects. And I’m sort of amazed myself. I’ve been doing this job for over four years now; you’d think I would have run out of ideas for teaching fractions and long division. And yet I always come up with something, often based on whatever is going on in my life: wedding planning, visiting Mexico, getting an ultrasound. I even wrote a math curriculum called “Literary Agent.”
I’m also getting back to my other part-time job – tutoring – but right now I’m only doing it on Skype. I just hired a high school girl who will come to the apartment one afternoon a week to watch Phoebe while I’m on Skype, but up until now my husband has been watching her while I tutor.
On Sunday I was tutoring, and my student’s camera wasn’t working. She could see me, but I couldn’t see her. It didn’t matter, though. She was just reading out loud to me from To Kill a Mockingbird, and we were discussing.
Out of the corner of my ear, I heard Phoebe start crying, and it sounded like a hungry cry, so I told my student to hold on a second. I fetched the baby and then said, “okay, keep reading. I’m just going to feed her.”
I guess I had a moment of flamingo syndrome –I couldn’t see my student, so I assumed she couldn’t see me. I pulled down my tank top and started breastfeeding. A few seconds later, I remembered that my student could see me, and I adjusted the camera so that only my face was visible on the screen. Oops! I can only hope she was so engrossed with To Kill a Mockingird that she didn’t notice her tutor flashing her!
Toward the end of the lesson, my student told me that she had to give a speech the next day to the entire middle school. “Our teacher told us we could pick any topic we wanted, so I chose apples,” she said.
“Apples? Like the fruit?” I asked.
She practiced her speech, and I gave her a few pointers.
“Why did you decide to write your speech about apples?” I then asked.
She grinned. “I didn’t know what to write about, and I was eating an apple, and my friend said ‘why don’t you write about apples.’” She shrugged. “So I did.”
I’m pretty sure that’s not what her teacher had in mind for the assignment. On the other hand, it’s a good lesson: when you don’t know what to write about, look around and write what you see. Write about your baby. Write about your day. Write about the apple you’re currently eating.
When I started this blog four and a half years ago, I worried I might run out of things to write about. But, like with math curriculum, I always come up with something. Often I take inspiration from whatever is going on in my life, big or small. Like accidentally Skype-flashing my student.
I don’t consider myself to be an amazingly creative person, pulling brilliant ideas out of thin air. Often I’m just a girl writing about apples. I look around, shrug, and write about whatever is in front of my face.