My mind is gone…but only in blips.   Much like my digital converter to the analog tv that we use for a rare football game, the images in my brain may suddenly pixelate and return in a few seconds or they may proclaim “no signal” and the channels need to be reset.  Either way, blips are frustrating.  In keeping with my classroom traditions, allow me to interject a seemingly unrelated story.

Mixture problems are the thorn in the side of algebra students.  Every textbook advocates the use of a chart.  I rebel.  Solving simultaneously is a challenging enough task that students do not need to be confused with creating a graphic organizer where they perform different operations on the rows and columns.  Explaining the change from multiplication to addition goes back to a more reasonable explanation that does not require the use of the use of a chart, therefore rendering the chart useless.  I felt that I was successfully articulate as I guided students though these problems.  This was on the tail end of communicating several word problems that solved for two variables simultaneously.  I had already exhibited a thorough understanding.

I usually have no problem performing arithmetic operations where most students reach for a calculator.  I did so numerous times during the course of the lecture.  Eventually, I said, “Why am I doing this?  You’ve already proven that you have fantastic arithmetic skills.  It would be a better use of time and utility to use a calculator for three digit products.”  Two steps later, I wrote 522 – 432.  A seven-year-old wouldn’t have an issue with this.   I said, “It’s not ten.  Why am I saying ten?”  A student answered, “Ninety.”  I said, “Thank you.  Of course.  (I was thinking that it was 10 less than 100 and got the 10 stuck in my head.)  As I was saying, we’ve all proven how awesome we are at arithmetic!”  Ha, ha!  At least the students laugh with me.

Apparently the problem with brain blips is a combination of things.  I have three small children with dynamic needs.  I have no repeat preps (each class that I teach, including college and 2nd grade homeschooling, requires its own planning and assessment creation).  I have a partial nursling who is still taking my brain enzymes.  I work at different colleges on different nights of the week.  I am the matriarchal figure who is in charge of all of the meal planning, laundry, decluttering, mopping, and colossal couponing.  Then, though we know that caffeine is not a solution, it does not help that my caffeine consumption is reduced.  I’m not reducing my caffeine because caffeine is unhealthy, but I need to focus on cramming more healthy things (80 oz of water and 32 oz of herbal tea) down my throat every day and there’s just not enough room for beloved coffee.

In the wake of my caffeine deprived brain blip, a student asked about a mixture problem.  I read the problem aloud, “’A coffee shop is blending two types of coffee beans …’ Well, that’s just rubbing my nose in it!”  :)

I miss my brain, but I don’t think that it’s coming back any time soon.