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.