I am the daughter of an engineer, a physicist, a numbers guy. (Just for the record, the engineer-physicist-numbers guy is all one person, my dad. Also for the record, I'm the daughter of a musician, a sparkling conversationalist, a world-class hostess--also all one person, my mom.) But back to Mr. Mathematics: my dad was the man who helped me figure out my algebra (I and II) and sat with me patiently while I worked out my Geometry (he says I actually insisted on learning it, although apparently I learned it to forget it, since I have not been successful at helping any of my kids at math except addition etc., the basic computational moves, although I can still recognize a triangle and can sort of remember what a rhombus is, yada yada yada and then we all died of boredom). i.e., my dad helped me pass the required math for a smart person (which back then did NOT include calculus or pre-calculus which I think is torture and should be outlawed by the Geneva Convention for anyone but future physicists and engineers, i.e., not me or my kids!).
So now, what am I doing on a perfectly lovely Easter evening, after having had a nice dinner with two daughters, a son-in-law, a historian and a baby (walked into a bar . . .)? I am manipulating figures into words. To be more precise, I am writing a report of the English 2010 Assessment, describing in words the breakdown of how many student portfolios demonstrated high proficiency at a targeted set of traits, above average proficiency, average proficiency, below average, etc. And do you know what? Taking those numbers and putting them into words is bringing me down, man.
It's a perfect segue back into work. Yes, after spring break, work translates into these numbers: it's five (5) more class meetings and innumerable (∞) online e-mails, postings and responses. It's two (2) more curriculum committee meetings and three (3) more CCOs. It's sixty (60) minutes, at least, of discussion with the English 2010 committee about these findings and the report I have written of them. It's one (1)more department meeting. It's searching through the last five weeks for one (1) hour when the Five (5)-Year Plan committee can meet to revise its mission. It's cajoling the fifty percent (50%) of my students who have not yet submitted their midterm portfolios to PLEASE do it--so that I can have a better rate of completion.
It's Algebra II all over again. The numbers are not happy. There is no joy in Numberville.