I’m the youngest of four children. Growing up, I saw my older siblings come home from school and do homework, so I wanted to go to school and to have homework too. That was until I actually went to school and had real homework. Then, I didn’t want to go to school or have homework. Yes, I looked up to my older siblings, thought they were SO cool, and wanted to emulate them.
I used to play school with my brother who is two years older than me. I NEVER got to be the teacher. I would ask nicely and then, not so nicely. I would try to get my parents involved by gaining their sympathy. No matter what I tried, I was the student. I suppose my brother thought that since I was younger and he had been in school a whole two years more than me that he knew more and so could actually teach me something new. Looking back, I see that he was right, but still the injustice of it all!
It came to pass that during one of these “play schools” he taught me multiplication. In school, I was just starting to learn how to add and subtract so multiplication opened a whole new world of math to me and I dare say that I was an eager student.
As I never got to be the teacher when playing with my brother, I thought I would try my hand at it with my friends. Now, that I had an older brother who had taught me something new, I wanted to share it.
On the bus ride home from school, I started telling my classmates about multiplication and I met with resistance. They wouldn’t believe me. “There’s no such thing!” I explained it and explained it, but alas my explanation fell on deaf ears and so I had to involve a person with more authority than me. This person happened to be my brother who had two years more schooling than the rest of us and therefore, had the authority on this subject.
“Tell them George! Tell them there IS such a thing as multiplication.”
He graciously intervened and told them just that and explained it himself.
The dispute on the bus settled down as an older authority had been called upon.
After this episode, I lost hope and motivation of being the teacher when we played. I saw firsthand that age and schooling does matter when teaching.
I wonder if the bus driver heard this conversation and if it was cause for a chuckle at her dinner table that night. “Yes, yes, multiplication is a real thing.”