Japanese schools continue in their quest to make math as annoying and tedious as possible.

I always liked math class as a student. I saw it as a kind of language that transcended culture and even humanity and could define the entire universe. However, I could also understand why a lot of people didn’t feel the same way.

Math is also a dry pursuit often contained to a rigid set of rules allowing for little creativity, which turns a lot of free-thinking types off. And it’s this very hatred that some teachers in Japan seem to really want to instill in today’s youth by piling on even more restrictions than common sense could comprehend.

Only a few days ago we saw an unfortunate pupil get marks deducted for doing simple arithmetic correctly but failing to draw little cherries in the process. Now, according to a tweet by Torafugu (@Toraphgu) it appears some older students must refrain from drawing horizontal lines without the aid of a ruler, no matter what the circumstances.

“Today I was surprised to learn from the students of the cram school where I teach, that they will be penalized for not using a rule when writing calculations by hand. This is worse than the cherries.”

The image, provided by the cram school teacher, shows an example of this unidentified school’s rule in which a multiplication problem is worked out in two identical ways. However, because the one on the right used a ruler for its horizontal lines, it is deemed correct.

On the other hand, the calculation on the left didn’t use a ruler. As such the lines are slightly wavy and the entire solution is rendered worthless in the eyes of the teacher.

It is unclear why the teacher didn’t just go all out and make them write the multiplication sign and all the numbers with a ruler and compass as well. You’re never too young to get into drafting!

Needless to say, the Internet was once again up in arms over yet another brick in the wall.

“I’m beginning to think elementary school teachers are overworked…and slightly mad.”
“I’d like to hear this teacher’s explanation to why it’s not good.”
“My kid told me this too! It has nothing to do with math! Drawing a line by hand is fine!”
“I actually think using a ruler is helpful and lets kids take pride in their work. But punishing them for not using a ruler is the wrong approach.”
“When I was a student I used to use the edge of my book as a ruler. That’d be really hard for this.”
“Has Japanese education gotten this bad?”
“I remember being taught not to use a ruler, because it’s a waste of time.”
“I’m trying to figure out the meaning behind the straight lines, but I’m coming up with nothing.”
“I wonder if the teachers that do these things were messed with as students and are no taking it all out on the next generation.”

My best guess is that this teacher has some connection to the ruler industry. As we go deeper into the digital era, our dependence on rulers is at an all-time low. So, in an effort to rekindle our love affair with those straight edges, this teacher has taken it upon themselves to force them back into use.

▼ Hang in there CESS! Someone’s got your back.

Or, considering the increasing rate that these incidents seem to be popping up from the “proper way to write a four” to “the proper order to multiply numbers together,” its seeming more and more like the teachers are just screwing with society at large.

I know if I were a math teacher looking at all these viral tweets, it would be hard to resist my inner troll and not say, “Okay, class, from now on you must write all numbers in ascending sizes. So help me if I see a seven that’s bigger than an eight, you can look forward to a career as a powder monkey.”

Source: Twitter/@Toraphgu, Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@Toraphgu
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