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Short Story – The Number Mix-up

Meena maam never went wrong with her numbers. Everybody knew that. So what was happening this morning?
She was teaching class II and was making such simple mistakes that even the students spotted them at once.

She looked again at her colourful equations. Her students from class VII had recently gifted her a magnetic board with magnetic numbers. There were numbers and signs in different colours. She was quite happy with them because they were attractive and easy to change. She could keep maing equations and removing them without a dusty blackboard.

How can 2 x 4 be 6?” she asked her star pupil, looking at her notebook. The girl meekly pointed at the board. It read 2X4=6. Meena maam turned red. She couldnt believe her star pupil was thought she must be unwell to be making such mistakes. She gave the class free time for the rest of the period and sat down.

She made sure she got enough rest that night so that she would be fresh and alert the next morning.

The following day, she greeted her class cheerily. She began the class and found that she was making just as many mistakes as the previous day.
How can I be doing this?” she asked herself. She was quite convinced that someone had fuddled her brain.

So the next day, she invited another teacher, Vanitha maam, to sit in the class to check if she was making mistakes.

Vanitha maam slipped into a seat near the board, and quietly helped Meena maam correct the mistakes she made. The class did not notice anything.

After the class, the students hurried outside for the break.

Meena maam looked at Vanitha maam sadly. I am no longer a good maths teacher. I think its time I quit,” she said.

But Vanitha maam just laughed and laughed. She laughed till her sides ached.

Meera, you are just so clumsy!” she said.

Meena maam stared. What did she mean by that?

Look, let me show you what you did, Vanitha maam said, walking up to the magnetic board. She picked up some numbers and signs and made an equation. Then, as she moved her hand back, she nudged a few of the signs. The plus sign became a multiplication sign, and a minus sign became a one.

That is what you are doing all the time!”

Now Meena maam laughed too. What a relief! At least I know my brains havent started rusting yet!”

-Nisha Daniel

Teachers Corner:

Heres a cool way to learn the nin times table! Its fun, and your class will always remember them right.

Place both hands palms down on the table. If you want to calculate 9X7, bend the 7th finder (assuming that the little finger on the left hand is 1, the ring finger is 2 and so on – counting from left to right). The answer is 6 (all fingers before bent finger) 3 (all fingers after bent finger). 63!

Its simple, and can be done even in the exam hall!

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