Originally published 5/11/12
So I spent last week with my parents since my husband was on a business trip, and since my dad had to travel as well for a couple of days, my mom and I decided to have a girlsâ€™ night out.
As we split an exquisite slice of chocolate cheesecake we shared stories of crazy experiences weâ€™d had-or heard of-on the job, such as corporate controllers who did not believe in math, companies who listed as one of their values the ability to make fast decisions with little to no information, and people who based their decisions on whether or not to purchase inventory on a simulation tool rather than the reality of which items actually were or were not in stock.
As my mom and I have both spent a number of years as teachers, eventually talk turned to our crazy experiences as educators.
â€œYou know I worked with a principal once who believed that as long as someone had the textbook, then any person was capable of teaching any subject,â€ my mom said.
â€œOh yes, I remember him,â€ I replied.
â€œWell I also worked with a colleague-another math teacher-who wasÂ adamantÂ about the fact that he did not believe in Indirect Proofs.â€
Now, I am the first to admit that I myself hold some crazy beliefs. For example, I donâ€™t believe in peanut butter as dessert. And I do believe that having a goatee turns you into the Evil Version of yourself. But Iâ€™d never before heard of a math teacherÂ who did not believe in a particular part of math.
â€œSo what did you say?â€ I asked.
â€œI told him that I didnâ€™t realize that that was a belief stance. Plus, you canâ€™t prove that the square root of 2 is irrational without indirect proofs.â€ (Which apparently is an important thing to be able to do, but Iâ€™m not sure exactly why that is, becauseÂ mathÂ makes myÂ head hurt. So I sort of tuned that part out.)
â€œThatâ€™s like being a language teacher who doesnâ€™t believe in verbs,â€ I said. â€œBut you couldnâ€™tÂ proclaimÂ this belief, because you couldnâ€™t use the kinds of words in which you didnâ€™t believe. So it would be like, â€˜I! No!â€™ Which would make it pretty difficult to convert anyone to your cause.â€
(ETA: I have completely reversed my position on peanut butter and dessert; don’t know what I was thinking before.)