Mr. Flaherty, I can’t take these Seniors! I don’t know how they even get away with it! Gravity is 9.8 meters per second squared! You can’t just round it to 10! What are the Seniors even doing? It’s just not rigorous!

This year, my school changed its science curriculum to put Physics first, leading to the odd situation where Seniors and Freshmen are in the same Honors/AP classes. All year, I’ve been pushing my Honors Geometry students (Freshmen, mostly) to be more rigorous in their work. It’s never perfect; there’s always something slipping through the cracks. “There’s a difference between one third and 0.33.” “Line segment AB does not equal 5 cm. The length of line segment AB does.” It’s picky, annoying work for both of us, but these kids are a trajectory that merits precision. Still, some days, it feels downright Sisyphean.

And then three of my girls found me at lunch to share their woes in Physics. They were aghast that Seniors—upperclassmen, who should know better—would be so brazen to round 9.8 to 10 in Physics class. They couldn’t believe that the 14-year-olds had to be the role models for rigor.

It’s nice, sometimes, to see the fruits of your labors.

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