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Jason's Jive December 2022 By Jason Inanga


Let me start off with a recent situation that I just encountered on November 14 in Dallas. I had literally finished my day on road, picking up freight for the company I work for, and decided to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken to grab what would be my dinner for the evening. I went inside, placed my order, and paid by debit card. A patron had entered after me, and so he placed his order totaling $11.90. HE gave the young male cashier $20. Apparently, the cashier made a mistake and forgot to enter the cash amount tendered, so the register did not display how much change he should give back. I realized what had happened and was going to tell the cashier how much the change should be but decided to keep my mouth shut. He fumbled around for a bit, looked behind him but his coworkers were busy preparing orders, so he got his phone from his pocket and struggled with the calculator on his phone to get the amount of change he would have to present. Male customer looked on at him the whole time and said nothing. It then dawned on me that they both may have had difficulty with what should have been a very simple math situation.

I posted this experience on my social media account, and it has generated a lot of buzz. Other people commented on how sometimes, the cashiers would not get the amount of change right and would give too much change. The register tells them how much change is due but does not show the breakdown of the amount, so there is a need for mental math to see how many of the bills and coins bring up the total due. Many people have said that there were instances where too much change was given, and they had to be honest and kind enough to return the excess.

This is the manifestation of a problem coming out of the schools and the attitude of young people toward math. I believe there needs to be a module of math that teaches them the use of a cash register and how to go about adding and subtracting or multiplying, in different scenarios. I believe an approach like this would make them a lot more receptive to some aspects of math.

When I taught the English Language at a Senior High School, in the Caribbean (St. Kitts) although it was not on the curriculum, I spent a two-week segment, teaching the children public speaking skills. I told them that at some point in life, they would have to stand up in front of an audience to speak, and at least they will have an idea of how to go about it. We did impromptu speeches and prepared speeches, and they loved it. Fast forward many years later, and some of these same students I taught are now politicians. Some are Ministers of Government or have been, and some have held appointments where they have to make presentations to global audiences. For example, The St. Kitts-Nevis Ambassador to the UN is a former student --- I remember mentoring her and a few others when they were 15 years old. I used to coordinate a monthly teen publication, Teen Times, which was a news and fashion publication for teenagers. The entire editorial staff comprised teenagers and they learned how to conduct interviews and write brief as well as lengthy articles based on the interviews. They had to negotiate to get advertisements, as well as talk to the sports shops about modeling the latest sportswear – I functioned as their photographer for them. Teen Times was very popular back then in the mid-1990s and we used to dread the end of the month when the publication came out as the school children would mob me to get a copy. Some would stand guard around my car in the parking lot, just to get a copy.

My childhood friend, classmate and neighbor, Branwen Okpako has just released a film, Return to Chibok. It is a sequel to a documentary that was done on the situation in Nigeria where 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Branwen is working with me to get an article done, so look forward to it once we complete the article. The film was featured at an international film festival in London, earlier this month. The film is in Hausa, but with English subtitles.

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. Remember we have a lot to be thankful for. If you have the resources, please bring some cheer to a child around the world for Christmas. Many of the schools in Beltsville have the annual shoebox donations going on, where one puts a little gift package together, that fits into a shoe box. Contact local schools for this. I know Beltsville SDA School used to do this. Make a difference to somebody else.

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