Public Service Announcement

Repeat after me: No, I do not want to figure out how to split the bill.

I’m preaching to the choir here. As you already know, this conversation is a hazard of the job. One that you are sure to encounter. Unless you only go out with fellow math teachers. No judgment. It’s a coping mechanism.

I had a great conversation the other day with one of my non-math colleagues about why math teachers hate it when other teachers assume that we would simply love to split the check for everyone. I said that there were two main reasons for this (although there are probably more).

One, math is so much more than arithmetic. The study of math is deeper, richer and far more complex than performing basic calculations. And, incidentally, I did not decide to study math because I got all excited about things like finding percents and dividing when I was in grade school–I didn’t get excited about any of that. It was boring. Or, as we say in the Bay Area, “hella boring”.

Two, everyone else at the table was perfectly capable of performing this task as well. It’s not like anyone we were with had a severe case of dyscalculia. Which is probably the only instance I can think of where a reasonably educated adult would not be able to split a check. I think that this is a task that every person should be able to do. Period.

As a result of this conversation she said she understood and that this all made sense to her. And, most importantly, that she would not do this in the future. Therefore, with the aim of bringing this important message to the masses, I put this story in your hands, so that you too can spread the word and hopefully someday we can eradicate this from our happy hour experience once and for all.

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