Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Arithmetic Proves Testing For The Maths Teacher

The children piled into the bus. The teachers looked flustered. There was no need as they were 'old hands' at this trip and had done it on numerous occasions.

"There's not enough seats," one panic stricken teacher said, walking up and down the bus. "Oh this is going to be very inconvenient. We will have to squash up together. What are we going to do with all the sick buckets? We'll have to rest them on our knees."

"How many are you?" I asked gently.


"That's fine as this bus is a 49 seater and the other has 57."

"No, no it's not fine - there are no seats on this bus," she continued in a high pitched voice.

"I'm not great at maths, but I think 49 + 57 = 106, take away 96 leaves 10. There are 10 free seats on that bus."

"But there are no more seats on this.....oh.....". She sent four children onto the other bus. I think she may have been the Maths teacher, too. Her mention of the sick bucket made my heart sink. That was always a bad sign for the twisting roads we had to negotiate later in the trip. "The good news," she said "is that most of the children have taken our advice and have taken travel sickness tablets. These tablets last for two hours."

Two hours later we had only travelled forty miles, as the traffic had been at a standstill. "Oh dear," said the teacher, never mind they can have some air when we stop at the service station." The omens were bad when I cleaned the bus after they had got off. The floor was littered with half chewed sweets, sweetie wrappers and the crusts of pies, quiches and sandwiches. The omens got worse when the teachers encouraged the children to have a snack, before heading up to the last bit of the journey, over hills and round hairpin bends. 'No please don't do that' were my thoughts, knowing what an awful journey was about to be undertaken.

I drove slower than I had ever driven over that road. Under the circumstances, the end result of:

Children and teachers fine 47 Children sick 2

was better than expected. But they were nice children. They chatted, said please and thank you. What more can you ask for? The teachers were friendly too. "We only have one rule," said one teacher. "The children can do whatever they like. But they cannot sing. You wouldn't like to hear that."

Thank goodness for the DVD player then.

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