However, this is not a place for kindness.
My friend's mother, see, had been a junior high math teacher for many, many years, though she had since moved on to teaching some lower-level computer classes at a nearby university. She had not escaped from grade-school pedagogy unscathed, however. The day they asked me to help, I had been tasked to measure an area to determine how many square feet of linoleum would be needed to cover the floor. The measurement was a simple one - I don't remember the figures exactly after so long, but it was something elementary like 6.5 by 9. I walked over to report dutifully that we'd need 58.5 sq.ft. of linoleum. The math isn't that hard. And yet.
Before I could say a word, she asked - sweetly - what the measurements were. Without thinking about it, I told her, commenting, "So, that's fifty-eight-and-a-half square feet." She just nodded as if she hadn't heard me, muttering to herself, "Where's my pencil?" When she finally located it, she produced a sheet a paper, narrating, "Now, we take a clean sheet of paper..." Then she started to write.
"So, you said the length was six and a half feet..." She drew a nice neat "6 1/2."
"...and the width was nine feet." She drew a lovely "9."
"Now," she went on in a pleasant, even voice, "we take the product..." She put a precisely executed "x" between the two numbers.
"...of the two numbers." She put an admirably even "=" to the right of her "9."
Then she turned to me and looked over her glasses expectantly. It took me a full minute, I think, to gather my wits. Finally, I stammered out, "Uh, fifty-eight-point-five."
"That's right!" she beamed.
I should note I was twenty-four at this time.
Now, I hadn't thought about this in years, until last night, when I was watching an old episode of The Amazing Race, and there was a pair of schoolteachers who talked and acted like they were still in front of a classroom, the whole time they were on camera. I was struck by how some educators, after years of putting on a very particular "classroom persona," just get consumed by it, unable to "break character" even in what we laughingly call "real life."
So, here's my Thirsty:
Q: Do you have any "classroom persona" habits that have infected your "real" life?
I have noted that this tends to affect college instructors less prominently, but I'm still curious.