# Math mistake on another teacher's board.....

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Oct 4, 2018.

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1. ### Pi-R-SquaredConnoisseur

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Oct 4, 2018

There was a math mistake on another teacher's board that I wanted to tell the teacher about but I did not want to embarrass her.

It showed 22 divided by (1/2) = 11. At the time when I noticed, there were other teachers present so I didn't say a word........If others had left, I probably still would have said nothing..... (Perhaps I just answered my own question!!)

What bothered me was that it was incorrect. If it was the teacher's work, that's one thing. If a student wrote that, and it wasn't corrected, that's still bad.

Question is as follows: Should I have pointed that out? And if so, how could I have done it without risking embarrassment?

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Oct 4, 2018

I would probably just make it light "uh oh...looks like a little type-o".Or "My students mess up dividing fractions all the time!!! How do you explain it to them?"

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I spelled the name of our school wrong on my board the other day. Mistakes happen. I'd gently have said something similar to the above comment.

Also, dividing fractions is so hard to understand. Like, I know how to do it, but I struggle with visualizing what I'm doing. I don't hold those mistakes against anyone.

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5. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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On a side note, I'm teaching dividing fractions soon and we are using fraction tiles so the kids can picture it. I like to think of it as "how many one-halves fit into 22?"

Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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6. ### TeacherGroupieModerator

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Oct 4, 2018

Or "If you cut up a four-inch string into half-inch pieces, how many pieces do you get?"

7. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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I like this too!

Fraction division is hard. The kids are expected to draw models for everything (even fractions divided by fractions) and I know it's going to be tough. I have to do a lot of prep this weekend so I can fully understand the models. Luckily, my school has lesson plans for this unit but I have to understand them.

8. ### mathmagicEnthusiast

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Oct 4, 2018

I think of this as if someone has something stuck on their face or something - if done in a respectful way, just pointing out the mistake casually as a way to help them out would, most of the time, be highly appreciated. I'd certainly appreciate someone noting that for me, even if I might feel a bit awkward/frustrated in the moment.

9. ### otterpopPhenom

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Oct 4, 2018

I'd let it go.

Unless the person had written a whole slew of problems, all with the same mistake, it's very possible this was only a one-time mistake. It's also possible the problem was written up there and then used as a discussion point for why the answer was incorrect. There have been times when I've had a spelling mistake up on the board, and I realize it as soon as I look at it later on.

If it was a teacher I was friendly with, I might joke about it or politely ask.

A few years ago, I heard a teacher teaching a lesson just plain wrong. It was an entire lesson on something like subject and predicate and I could hear the teacher in the next room, and he was teaching it as if subjects were predicates and vice versa. In the end, I didn't say anything. It's not my business. The teacher was already under the microscope for other workplace issues and concerned about enough things. I figured it would all work itself out eventually. It did - his contract ended up getting non-renewed (not due to anything along this line). Sure, I could have said something friendly to address it but it didn't seem appropriate in this situation. Every situation is different.

Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
10. ### otterpopPhenom

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Oct 4, 2018

On the spelling line of thought, also, I have seen a surprising number of teachers with glaring spelling mistakes on their boards. Most of the time I don't say anything, unless the teacher is a friend of mine. It kind of makes me cringe.

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11. ### czaczaMultitudinous

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Oct 4, 2018

I think I’d say something when students weren't in the room

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12. ### BibliophileCompanion

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Oct 5, 2018

It might have been a purposeful mistake-give the teacher the benefit of the doubt.

I would say something simple like-hey do you want me to switch the division symbol to the multiplication symbol or are your kids supposed to be finding the mistake?

I often write problems with errors on the board for my high kids to correct while I pull my low kids for what I call the "10 minute instant replay" (I reiterate the most important points and go over the problems we did, and why they are correct, then I give an extra practice problem that I watch them solve so I can correct mistakes immediately). I did have someone try to correct me one time-then I pointed out that the errors were supposed to be there so the kids could think critically about the problem to fix it.

Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
13. ### BibliophileCompanion

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Oct 5, 2018

One time I did have a mistake on my class rules board though-respectful with 2 l's ugh it was hanging super high and I needed a latter to get it down too. I happens to the best of us-especially when we are burning the candle at both ends and work late too often so we are tired and brain dead. If it was an accident quietly mentioning it when no on else is around is best

Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
14. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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I would also say something privately. It's definitely normal to make mistakes. I messed up a division problem in front of my kids today (which I actually like doing sometimes as a "find my mistake" but this was accidental) and sent an email to a math teacher where I added the base of an exponent instead of multiplying! I obviously know how to do all of these things correctly but it happens!

15. ### TeacherNYMaven

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Oct 5, 2018

Leave a post-it note?

16. ### physteachCompanion

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It isn't possible it was intentional? When I taught math we regularly evaluated problems thatvwere solved incorrectly and discussed why so students weren't just learning the "right" way but also why other methods were incorrect. I'd have been super annoyed with someone assuming I didn't know my subject.

17. ### SpecialPreskooModerator

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If I never made mistakes, I would say something. I've got bigger fish to fry than correct others. LOL I've got to proof my own work first.

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19. ### BibliophileCompanion

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I keep saying I'm going to disable auto correct...

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Is this exactly how it was written: "22 divided by (1/2) = 11"?

21. ### Pi-R-SquaredConnoisseur

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Oct 6, 2018

It had 22, then the division symbol, then 1/2, then equals 11.

She put a 1 under the 22 to change it to a fraction. The 22 and 2 were circled as if cross-cancelling occurred. Then 11/1 written. Final answer circled 11.

I ended up not saying anything. In the end, there are so many other pressing issues. I believe I did right by being quiet about it. In the end, if her students do poorly on that concept, she’ll eventually find out. I hope!!

22. ### AcesDevotee

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I realize how it reads but I'm going to go completely left field with this one and ask are you sure it's not a case of bad wording? For instance 22 divided in half equals 11? In which case that makes it true. Because when I first looked at it, that's h how I read it and it took me a minute to figure out exactly what was wrong about it.

23. ### AcesDevotee

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Okay nevermind I see where you explained it further. I'd just pull her off to the side discretely.

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If she's grading the test with a misconception, she may mark correct answers wrong.....and then a parent will see....and go after her job!!!!!!! Won't you feel bad for not speaking up? [Of course I'm being hyperbolic just for the sake of being a jerk....]

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I thought the same thing as Aces but with the full explanation of what is on the Board unless the teacher was showing a misconception on purpose it looks like an error. I would just say, hey, I noticed this on your board, can you share with me how you used this in your class because I'm curious what strategy you were using? Then if the teacher was indeed explaining it the way it looked I'd point that out.

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26. ### AcesDevotee

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Exactly I saw it as 22 divided by half or in half, not 22/(1/2). Which is a good lesson as well to be particular about how things are worded. And at the same time, if it was in fact 22/.5=11, it could have been something like "Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this equation?" Because I've been known to do that as well, put up an equation on the board and ask what's wrong with it.

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27. ### Leaborb192Enthusiast

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Exactly! I think we ALL do stuff like that: model what is correct and what's not and talk about why usually thinking aloud what errors students tend to make. "So I notice students tend to want to... but that's not correct because...'' I usually end up putting an X through the work after we've had a conversation. The best conversations come from talking about errors or mistakes students make or having them tell you why an answer and the work is wrong.

28. ### Pi-R-SquaredConnoisseur

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Oct 11, 2018

UPDATE: I went into the teacher's classroom yesterday and the exact same problem was on the board. Never erased! And her class is self-contained so the kids have been staring at that problem for who knows how long!!!

29. ### otterpopPhenom

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Oct 11, 2018

Huh. Maybe at that point I'd delicately bring it up.

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Oct 11, 2018

Looks like it times to hire a new custodian!

31. ### Pi-R-SquaredConnoisseur

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Our custodian is responsible for hallways and outside. Teachers clean, sweep, and mop our classrooms.

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32. ### MrsCMultitudinous

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Our custodians would never presume to erase anything from the board (just as teachers or admin wouldn't).

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Ours wipe down our boards every night. If there's something we don't want erase, we write DO NOT ERASE by it. Nice walking into a clean board each morning.I assumed that was a standard janitoriall thing like taking out the classroom trash and sweeping the floors, but I guess it varies more than I thought.

34. ### otterpopPhenom

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What??? That's nuts!

35. ### futuremathsprofPhenom

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Our janitors clean the bathrooms, hallways, and maintain the school grounds outside, but they only ever shampoo the carpets and mop the floors in the classrooms. Otherwise, the teachers are responsible for their own rooms.

36. ### AcesDevotee

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Same. If we don't clean our boards they don't get cleaned. Which is perfect for me because I leave stuff up there all week.

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Oh thank God for our strong union! I'm with otter. I'm there to teach, not to be a maid.

38. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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Agreed! I also have the kids wipe down desks and clean the whiteboard. They all want to do it! The janitors sweep our floors every night.

39. ### otterpopPhenom

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I leave my classroom very tidy, but we have janitors that mop and vacuum. That does not fall under my job description.

40. ### futuremathsprofPhenom

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If I remember correctly, don’t you have a very small classroom and a single whiteboard? It would probably take you all of 5 minutes to clean your classroom.

I don’t think that you need a strong union to prop up a shack.

Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
41. ### futuremathsprofPhenom

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So if you taught science, for example, and some glassware fell off a counter and smashed on the floor, you would just leave it until the janitors came along?