Anybody get a different answer to that ……

Earlier today (May 23rd) I attended the Funeral Mass of James Flanagan in Ballymote.  May he rest in peace.  James was our Maths teacher when I was a student in St Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen.  He was a better teacher than I was a student, especially so when it came to maths.  He had a quick mind and an even quicker turn of phrase.  I have thought about him a lot since I heard he died on Monday last.  I remember the way he used to work out a maths problem on the board (no interactive white boards then ….) You’d hear the bounce of the chalk as it made contact with the blackboard.  x’s and y’s and squared and less thans’, more thans’ … were the order of the day.  He’d finish the “sum” with a swish of the chalk and then write QED (Quad erat demonstandum – which was to be demostrated) at the bottom.  Returning the chalk to its box, he’d say “Anybody get a different answer to that?”  Then he’d add “Sherlock”?  Almost always, I obliged!!

God rest you Mr Flanagan.  I’m still not great at maths but I’m glad we met.

3 thoughts on “Anybody get a different answer to that ……”

  1. We used to call him “Patch” (not sure why – maybe elbow patches on his jacket). He was a superb maths teacher. Although I didn’t really get maths I managed a “D” in hons maths. I enjoyed his classes because of what you described…the way he used the board, and the chalk. I got a kick out of integration and differentiation, but didn’t really understand them…to paraphrase the ad on TV now…”I don’t understand a word you’re saying but I love the way you say it”

    May he rest in peace.

  2. My name is Jim, I´m from the USA, but live now in Lanzarote… James was my mother Mary´s first cousin… He still owned the farm in Ballymote… my grandmother was born on… I had the opportunity to visit him and his wife Anne a couple of times, most recently a year ago June… I appreciate your words as students of his… He was a really good man and surely will be missed by many….

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