Things that make me smile #13 – Mathematics class

Note: In government-owned Indian schools, it is common for an Inspector (from Department of Education) to visit and check how things are going.

An Inspector goes to a primary school. The teacher there was teaching kids mathematics – specifically multiplication. The teacher welcomes the Inspector and after the pleasantries, the Inspector takes over. He picks a student and asks him –

“Son, can you tell me what is 12 times 5?”

The boy thinks for a second and says “I think it is 900.”

The Inspector is shocked and puzzled and asks the same question again to another student. The second one is more confident than the first one and he replies – “Sir, it is 980”

The Inspector does not know what to say. The drama continues. The other students respond with numbers anywhere from 900 to 1000. The Inspector is now more angry than being annoyed. He turns to the teacher who is surprisingly calm throughout this exercise. In fact, he is smiling a bit. The Inspector now asks the teacher with a frown on his face –

“Can you explain what’s happening here?”

The teacher responded calmly “Sir, I don’t see any major problem. For the same question, they were answering in the 9,000 to 10,000 range when I came in. I have worked hard to bring them down…”