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The Tentacle


August 25, 2015

Happy Days and Algebra

Harry M. Covert

May be hard to believe, but imagine for a moment the summer is almost over and, both parents and students alike are jumping with joy, or should be.

Getting away from all the fast moving news at home and abroad, it’s good that boys and girls of all ages are ready to begin their way into society.

Besides all the parental responsibilities for offspring, teachers and coaches and curriculum professionals truly have vital jobs. In Frederick County the job gets tougher and tougher. Nowadays the intrusion of political partisanship is getting in the way. Instead of news featuring scholastic efforts, it’s the rabid talk of teachers’ unions, alleged teacher loss because of salary competition from other jurisdictions, and all kinds of other circumambient reasons.

I know it’s a bit simplistic, but the main job of educators is “readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic.” The teaching profession is an honored career. Teacher pay and benefits are vital for a solid community. Let’s add that the political correctness highly seen in the public school system must be ended and deleted.

In my time, school was fun, beginning with kindergarten onward. Teachers were great even when I couldn’t figure out simple geometry. Fortunately I learned to read and write early on, but figuring out circles and angles was not my thing. Fortunately my geometry teacher was also the journalism instructor. I learned the five Ws and an H quickly and left the measurements business to more practical and popular pursuits of the boys of my day.

Modern day algebra has advanced but I did learn that a+b=y. One of the happiest days of my life came when I managed to pass the class. I always loved this joke we’ve heard and read many times:

A family's only son returns home from college. The father asks: "Well, son, you done gone to college, so you must be perty smart. Why don't you speak some math fer' us?"

The son says, "Pi R squared."

The father yells: "Why son, they ain't teached ya nothin'! Pies are round, cornbread are square."

This was neither a Frederick County student nor a local college boy.” Still funny. Even County Council President Bud Otis and colleagues M.C. Keegan-Ayer and Jessica Fitzwater might break their frozen faces and grin.

Here are some questions. Gentle reader, remember your first day in school in pre-school and elementary, high school, night school and college?

Certainly those enjoying the milieu of later years can easily recall sitting behind a pretty girl and having to stand in the corner for putting her pigtails in the ink well. Ink well, you ask? What is an inkwell? What is a dip pen? Good lord, recess when a teacher attempts to teach square-dancing?

How about first time in gym class and then showering with classmates?

It was always fun to hear the teacher call the roll. Every class member answered “here” with the exception of one wise guy who said “present” one day, then “correct” the next. He never changed throughout his 12 grade experience. He could pole vault and also throw long touchdown passes.

In today’s school activities, parents are involved in big ways and that is good. It is a shame though that police must provide security so students can be safe. All right, the past is the past. It is difficult for teachers to teach and students to learn knowing full well they are protected by armed men and women.

Will this ever change? Probably not. Our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the professional educators will prepare for the future and hopefully be safe and secure.

I didn’t forget. Scholastic fall football is another joy for the county. The fun is watching the players, cheerleaders and students in the stands with their chrysanthemums of seasonal colors and marching bands.

Reminders aren’t necessary here, but it’s probably important to drive carefully for happy days.

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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