I’ve written about it before. My dear friend, Mrs. F. teaches third grade. I see those big, almost gangly, third graders limbering down the hallway and I know there is a universe between them and my tiny sprouts. Sometimes I forget how challenging the academics can be as the children grow.

Yesterday in the teacher’s room, I ran into Mrs. F. at the copy machine. We began chatting about this and that (her son just turned one and is quite simply one of the most adorable little boys in the world…) and I couldn’t help but notice what she was copying.

“What is that?” I asked with a tinge of fear.

“It’s their homework for tonight,” she replied.

I picked the paper up and studied it. I was intrigued by her ‘double dog dare’ – I loved that. As for the actual math problem, I kid you not, it might has well have been in Chinese. Here it is:

“Um, I see the multiplication sign, but that’s about all I see…” I mumbled.

She then proceeded to try and explain to me how this problem would be worked out. Mrs. F. is a patient person. She’s an amazingly gifted teacher. She achieves amazing results with her students. She was totally lost on me.

I was polite because she’s my friend. I nodded and said ‘yes’ and ‘ah, I see’ from time to time, but really I felt like Homer Simpson with ‘Turkey in the Straw’ going on in an endless loop in my head as she spoke.

Today she emailed me to let me know nineteen out of her twenty-one students got it correct. This did not make me feel any smarter. I adore kindergarten and never want to leave it… bumping into Mrs. F. making copies only reiterates this for me.