Teach Them Well and Let Them Lead the Way

So, as I have mentioned, I work at a community college, and our office employs a number of student assistants.  The quality of work we receive from each student varies widely, and I am impressed at our office manager’s ability to assign work based on strengths and weaknesses of the individuals.  We have four sweet young ladies working here and they are eager to do well.  (This was not always the case, right Katie?) 

 

One of the newer girls has taken over our bus ridership counts.  Meaning, she has inherited the almighty Excel spreadsheets and will keep tabs on how many students are riding our buses (Heh, that last part sounded vaguely dirty.  NO? Just me? OK.)  Anyway, she came by to ask me a question.

 

D: “So, um, how do you calculate the average for the week?”

 

Me: “Add up the totals for the week from each route, divide by the number of days.”

 

D: “Do you mean days of the week?”

 

Me: “Yes, the number of days in the week we had the buses running.  Like, if it’s a four-day school week, divide by four.  For a regular week, divide by five.”

 

D: *Blinks a few times like I just showed her my boobs* “Well, when I got the spreadsheet, I clicked on the average and there was no formula.”

 

Me: “Oh, sorry about that.  Well, you can add it on now.” (No idea why the formula isn’t there, she might actually be using an old template – whoops.)

 

D: “Can you write down here how you figure out the average?” 

 

Me: *Writes down how to figure out an average, slowly dies inside while willing head not to explode.*

 

D: *Reads piece of paper and replies hesistantly* “OK.  That makes sense.  Thank you.”

 

And…SCENE.

 

OK, Kids, now I am an admitted Math Retard and need a calculator to figure out tips and how much a dress that costs blah blah would be when on sale for 30% off.  BUT I KNOW HOW TO CALCULATE AVERAGES and am sort of appalled that someone out of high school does not know this.  Is this something that has been abandoned from the math curriculum now?  Because the kids can just look it up on Myspace or rely on someone else to plug it into an Excel spreadsheet?  Or is this girl just preternaturally dumb as shit?  Any suggestions or answers are welcome.

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