*Yesterday’s story of a grade was not typical. Here’s an offsetting story of my journey to a BS in Accounting.*

I have always been fortunate. Things work out for the best, on the
whole. I have one great example to prove
this.

I went back to school for an accounting degree and added a
new dimension to a complicated life. In
many ways life seemed roaring at me and I was going against the current. My brother died one fall, my father the next
winter. I was in a new job, I needed to
succeed, and I needed to add that BS in Accounting to my credentials. I crammed all the courses into a very short
time, two summers and one regular year of night classes, as I recall.

The absolute most hands down difficult course I took was
Business Math. It outdid even
Statistics. It was six weeks of
Saturdays, eight a.m. to noon, in an elementary school, seated at a desk where
my knees touched the underside of the writing surface. The men in the class just sat on top of the
desks and balanced their notebooks on their knees.

The first class covered resolving business models using
algebra. And I needed this to
graduate?! What was I going to do? I last used algebra in the ninth grade. When
the teacher galloped past proportions, which I still remembered, at about nine
a.m., I knew I was a goner. I kept
turning the pages and taking notes, but I knew I would be found out the next
Saturday when class would begin with an exam of the material covered the
previous Saturday.

I went home that first Saturday and immediately called my
best friend, Carol. I needed to see Frank, the engineer. Perhaps there was
hope. Nothing in that book frightened
Frank. For five Saturday afternoons he
patiently explained what I was doing and how to solve the problems. We’re talking matrices here, long before
anyone made a movie. I literally did a
core dump for the exam each Saturday morning and moved on to the next phase of
Business Math. Calculus. No problem.
A little trig. Frank would
explain it later.

The final Saturday morning would be the final exam. In spite of Frank’s assurances I doubted I
could reproduce the results of the previous Saturday mornings when I had only
transferred a week’s worth of memorizing to a test paper. I knew come that last Saturday I could hit
all the wrong notes and expose myself for the math fraud I actually felt like.

Friday afternoon at work my phone rang. It was my mom, who had my kids for the
summer. Shelly had jumped off the
neighbor’s roof and broke her arm. She
was in the hospital; the compound fracture could not be set until Saturday,
under general anesthesia. Sometime that
evening, going down to see Shelly and then resolving all the hospital details I
remembered my exam the next morning.

I cannot even remember how I tracked down that Business Math
teacher in another county, after business hours, but I did. I got him on the phone, explained I would be
at the hospital at the scheduled exam time, and could we possibly find a time
for me to have a make-up exam.

There was a very long pause.
Then he said if I were willing to trade my A for a B, he would waive the
final exam. And that’s how I passed
Business Math.

Now that was a very nice man!

ReplyDeleteSomeone who actually realised that what is in your head is worth more than what you can put on paper.

ReplyDeleteJane x

A nice man, or one who wanted to finish the class and rest for the holidays.

ReplyDeleteEither one, probably a good trade off for you!

Hooray for the smart, smart teacher. Thank you, Shelly for climbing up on the roof and giving your mom the needed situation to explore this fellow's compassion and wisdom. May they all be so great!

ReplyDeleteThat was one draining way for you to pass a class--I hope it all turned out with Shelly. You had some very hard years.

ReplyDeleteMath has always been my weakness and yet my entire career and life has been about math.

ReplyDeleteWonderful story.

Never say die.

ReplyDeleteAnd all this time I always thought business math was just that - math, like arithmetic. Who knew it was about algebra, trig, and calculus. By gosh, thank goodness I never took a shining to business. :)

Wow...what a great guy.

ReplyDeleteOnce in a while we find the person at the front of the room is a real human being with a heart and a listening ear. And a life. Your math teacher probably didn't want to be involved in a make-up test any more than you did.

ReplyDeleteI remember being amazed that my grade school teachers had places to go and things to do outside their classrooms. Guess I thought they just hung themselves up in the closet after we left or something.

What a great story!

ReplyDeleteWhat an incredible life you have led! To take such a difficult class under such stressful circumstances and wind up with an A is amazing. That you sacrificed it for a B is beside the point, after all, you had your priorities straight!

ReplyDeleteWow. Talk about LUCK! I was NEVER good in math. When I was in high school, I had a male teacher. His name was Mr. Banrig and he was the first and only teacher to ever call me an idiot.

ReplyDeleteOh,this is a great story! Hope Shelly got a little extra treat or sumthin' :)

ReplyDeleteThat was a good trade.

ReplyDeleteOh thank goodness, sometimes things work out for the best in more ways than we can imagine or hope for.

ReplyDeleteThe generosity of this man goes some way to make up for your undeserved C. Law of averages...

ReplyDeleteOh how I loath math. I tried to retake my maths about 10 years ago and still only got a D.

ReplyDeleteWhat a wonderfully understanding teacher!

ReplyDeleteHow fantastic...what a teacher!

ReplyDeletewonderful story

ReplyDeleteI think the most important point here is that YOU HAD AN A!!! Excellent!

ReplyDeleteI had the worst time with math. I so admire your math abilities. Like Diane said, "You had an A." Wow!

ReplyDelete