This was a pretty unsual on-line contact for me — it came from a grown-up, someone who signed his name." /> This was a pretty unsual on-line contact for me — it came from a grown-up, someone who signed his name." /> Math teacher puts me in my place - Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Math teacher puts me in my place

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This was a pretty unsual on-line contact for me — it came from a grown-up, someone who signed his name.

It came from a high school math teacher. I won't print his name here, his school division may not think it's too cool to use the divisional email to conduct this kind of business, but if he wants to hit the comments section and identify himself, feel free.

I didn’t think that my occasionally mentioning soccer incidents in which teenagers can’t do the math in their heads to figure out how much time is left when you’ve played 32 minutes of a 40-minute half in soccer constituted berating and bias, but here’s what the teacher had to say.

Besides, the anonymous trolls really enjoy it when someone slaps me down.

And good on him for having the gumption to sign his name:


"I’ve been watching you berate the younger generation on your blog for some time when it comes to automaticity of math facts. But, a recent study  has shown that younger Canadians (16-24 yr olds) score higher in numeracy than adults as a whole. It’s a marginal difference but it does speak volumes about the bias you’ve displayed on numerous occasions. (see pages 80 and 82)

I am 33 years old and teach math. I have encountered far more people older than me who can’t recall basic math facts than people younger than me who cannot do so. I have always read your blog with glee as you describe times that you’ve confused people by asking them to do some minor calculation in their head — I do that all the time. Except it’s my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc who can’t keep up. But, I try not to generalise on my anecdotal experiences."

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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