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That time when teaching 4

…when kids rename a topic to their understanding but it gets lost in translation to you. Enjoy this following story.

You can read up the earlier ones in what is beginning to look like a series of teaching stories by clicking on the arrows at the end of this post.

As soon as the maths mock exams were done, Erine came to find me in a panicked mode like she just encountered a question out of the safe world of secondary school level maths.


I wondered at the fear in her voice as she was one of my brighter students.

“Miss”, she said, in the generic name most if not all female teachers have been christened by, “you know how I said I tend to struggle with the easy questions?”

I nodded in affirmative response as she’s a very conscientious student who had realised and owned up to her battle with the little monsters that may cause other less able, mere mortal mathematicians to tremble in dread.

She continued. “Miss, I need help with those, what are they called?” While looking at me to don my psychic hat and read her mind as to what topic she was trying to drag from the depths of her soul or recesses of her mind to the tip of her tongue.


My brows furrowed in response to the silent but loud question at my inability to read her mind. I nudged her recall on with hands, but the word must have even sunk further down. Like something trying to escape from quick sand.

She then decided to create her own new GCSE maths topic, by saying, “Mechanical Lines”.

As if my confusion wasn’t advertised well enough on my face, I added a bewildered response to her, “what in the world is that?” But in my wisdom, I opened the paper they had just sat and voila, my dear Erine was referring to Construction Lines. Not Mechanical lines. You upcoming maths genius!


In all honesty, I had to laugh at her attempt. But to be fair to her, those loci lines are all drawn with mechanical instruments. So yeah, they shall henceforth be renamed Mechanical Lines, for thus saith Erine!!

To your ease of laughter at the mistakes, . . .

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