Jew Do the Math: Rabbi Shawn and Ms. Latta Secretly Switch Places


Photo by Disney, adapted by Miriam Herstein

Ms. Latta and Rabbi Shawn starring in a Milken rendition of the 2003 Disney movie “Freaky Friday.”

It was a seemingly typical Wednesday morning for Precalculus students as they entered their C block class when suddenly Ms. Latta asked if anyone had a dedication before they started learning.

Meanwhile, in the depths of building 4, Rabbi Shawn Fields-Meyer walked into her 11th grade Beit Midrash class. The Division 11-12 Rabbi stumbled in with a pink blanket wrapped around her shoulders and a fuzzy vest to keep her warm. She chaotically threw her students’ recent tests onto an empty desk and struggled to join the Clevertouch board. “Fudgeroni!” she exclaimed, as her purple iPad refused to connect.

Throughout the day, Milken students reported abnormal behaviors from the two teachers. “I asked Rabbi Shawn for help with my responsa project and she kept talking about her pet shark,” Brooke Abselet ‘23 said. “I thought she had a cat.”

Brooke Orloff  ‘24 had a similar experience. “I went to class a few minutes early to review my math test, but Ms. Latta said she had left it at home with her husband, Tom,” Orloff explained. “She’s never mentioned a ‘Tom’ before.”

Ben Novian ‘22 was caught off guard when instead of collecting his phone, “Ms. Latta asked me to separate myself from my digital overlord.” 

After multiple reported incidents, The Roar felt it was time to investigate. 

Upon consulting with the two teachers, we were shocked to hear that Ms. Latta and Rabbi Shawn had switched places for the day. One afternoon in the 9-10 Division Hub, Ms. Latta told Rabbi Shawn that she had, “gotten tired of teaching matrices to students who wouldn’t practice for five minutes every day.” Jokingly, they wished they could just swap places. 

However, when they reached for a plate of hamantaschen in the faculty lounge, they could immediately tell that something was wrong. Everything went black. Ms. Latta woke up in a haze, lying on Rabbi Shawn’s couch, while Rabbi Shawn, woke up in 4-105, with a stack of math tests sitting in front of her. Latta with a newfound love for Sefaria, and Fields-Meyer with an expanded knowledge of trigonometry. It quickly dawned on them what was going on because the two teachers, both having curly blonde hair, have been confused for each other since the beginning of the year. They decided to seize the opportunity and try out a new teaching expertise for the day.

After many hours of teaching, the two reconvened over a disposable cup of Keurig coffee to discuss their day. “I don’t think they noticed, even when I accidentally mentioned the dinner I had last night with Rashi and Sforno,” Fields-Meyer said.

Upon hearing the news, students began to piece things together. “I’m not surprised something was up,” Micah Green ‘24 says. “When I tried to reassess, Ms. Latta said she was busy talking to Rabbi Dorff on the phone.”

When asked about her understanding of the lesson, Ella Septimus ‘24 explained, “It was a little hard for me to understand 30-60-90 triangles when Ms. Latta kept humming a niggun.” 

The Student Judiciary Committee is in the process of drafting proposals to ensure this incident never happens again. To ensure that your Judaic and mathematical education stays intact, look for warning signs of Latta-Fields-Meyer-switcheroos. To spot a fake Ms. Latta, look for free candy handouts, a spontaneous Mary Oliver poetry reading, or a learning Bracha. To look out for a fake Rabbi Shawn, watch for an unusual love for Notability, the jingling of a dog tag bracelet, or a lack of fluorescent lighting in the classroom. 

Purim stories are fictional, satirical stories to celebrate The Roar’s favorite Jewish holiday, Purim!