The BBC published a story today about a 91 year old woman finally getting her dream job. Like everyone, I have a fantasy job. Unlike most, mine involves math. And prisons.
Perhaps sad but totally true: I long to teach algebra to women who are incarcerated. It’s a plan I’ve thought through. First, they would be a “captive audience” (ouch); why not do some homework and come to class? What else is going on? Second, there would be the luxury of time — time to make sure multiplication tables are memorized; time to explain the underlying concepts. Third, conquering algebra would build confidence and brain power. Might even help someone get a better job when their time was served. Fourth, I wouldn’t be expected to use fancy “new math” and computer teaching programs. My favorite form of instructional technology is a piece of chalk and an eraser. And of course, we would only do the easy word problems.
You wouldn’t have to pay me to work this dream job of mine and I might not face much competition to get it. I probably have a better chance at this one than my other fantasy: to make a living from the writing I want to do, which is not to be confused with the kind of writing that pays.