I have been working at the University for over 5 years, and yesterday was the first time someone called to complain about me. I had been on the phone with her for about half an hour, and she was in no way qualified to join our teaching certification. I very nicely told her the requirements, and the conversation went like this:
Crazy Lady: I want to join your Alternate Routes to Certification in Mathematics program.
Me: Great! In order to enter this, you will need to have a degree in Math or a related field, as well as pass the WEST-E (content knowledge test) in Mathematics. What is your undergraduate degree in?
CL: Business. That qualifies, right?
Me: It might, but the only way a business degree would work is if it was very heavily focused in Math, or you had a math minor.
CL: Well, what is considered a related field?
Me: There are quite a few. Engineering, accounting, computer systems, actuary, to name a few.
CL: Good. So business qualifies. What about the WEST-E.
Me: Actually, a business degree won’t really qualify unless you have taken quite a few math courses within the program. And yes, you will need to pass the WEST-E also.
CL: So, if I pass the WEST-E, I can start.
Me: In order to begin, you need to pass the WEST-E AND have an undergraduate degree in Math or a related field.
CL: It doesn’t say that on your website.
Me: Hmmm, let me check really quickly. Aah, here it is, if you go to our website, then click on ARC Math, you will see that it states that you need the degree and WEST test.
CL: What is considered a Math related degree? I’ve looked at the WEST-E and it looks easy. I’ll start the program this year.
Me: A business degree is not considered a Math related field unless you have taken quite a few math courses. How many math courses did you take with your undergraduate degree? You may still be able to qualify.
CL: I took Algebra.
Me: That’s really not enough to get started with this Alternate Route.
CL: Well, no one really knows math. I’m sure any person that took this program would have to take the same math courses every year to remember what was going on. So I can start?
CL: My business degree counts as a related field, right?
This went on for quite a while before I was able to convince her that, no, she is not qualified to teach children math. (And to be honest with ya, the concept of her teaching math to my nieces or nephews terrifies me).
Johnny D had been laughing the whole time that I was on the phone with Crazy Lady. Once I finished my conversation with CL, he congratulated me on not just hanging up on her. “I don’t know how you can stay so patient with these people”, he remarked.
No sooner that he said that, our main office line started ringing, so he answered it. It was Crazy Lady calling to complain about me. Apparently, I was rude, snippy, stupid, had no idea what I was talking about, and she wanted to file a formal complaint. She also wanted to speak with a different advisor. Johnny D promptly transferred her over to the only other Advisor who does my job.
I thought it was hysterical. When Johnny D started rattling off all of her complaints about me, we both started laughing because it was so untrue. And….when the other advisor got off the phone with her, the advisor called me to give me the lowdown. Apparently Crazy Lady had already been working with her for over a month, trying to finagle a way into the program.
Crazy Lady just left a message on my bosses phone to file a formal complaint about my coworker and I. My boss also thinks it’s hysterical, because the complaint is that we are “discriminating”.
To be completely true, I really was discriminating. I think that someone with no knowledge of math and doesn’t meet a single state requirement for teaching math should not be in charge of teaching math. Call me a bigot, but so be it.