I’m good with math. That’s important to note at the beginning.
I can calculate approximate percentages in my head at the snap of a finger. I can add 168+437+12 in 20 seconds. That’s the simple stuff. The more complex things are harder to show off, but I can do it.
I come by this skill honestly. My dad was a mathematics major in college (in case you’re wondering what on earth you can do with a math major, this was 1958 and he ended up with a lifetime career at IBM.)
Still, while I ultimately mastered every math class from grade school to college, it took most of the semester to get it right. I hated math for that reason.
Once I got it, I got it. In grade school, my teachers gave up on me. My dad, fortunately, also had a strong ability to teach and took over. Division frustrated me and word problems, forget it. If there’s one thing I probably still would struggle with from those years, it would be which train got there first and how many apples did they deliver per person. Or whatever.
In high school, my one math teacher – both years – figured out my struggle, was patient and gave me the final grades I deserved. He’d grin and say, “I know you know the answer” when I can guarantee you, I did not. I was frustrated but ultimately his belief in me and patience paid off.
In spite of failing half of the quizzes and tests throughout the semester, I achieved 100% on the finals. If he’d averaged my grades through the semester, I would have barely passed, but he gave me a fairly earned “B+” each time.
In college, my learning experience was the same. However, although I told my professor throughout the semester this was typical and I wasn’t worried, he assumed I’d cheated on the final (again, 100%) and gave me a D- for the course.
Today, my final grade in that course is irrelevant. I achieved the skills and still use them. I USE ALL THOSE SKILLS TODAY.
Why is this worth noting? Because no doubt many students share my learning curve, but in today’s teaching environment don’t get the chance to ultimately succeed. Math matters. Like a cheerleader I’ll say it again: Math Matters!
(Thanks go to a fellow blogger, whose blog http://journey2helpchildrenwithmath.com inspired today’s post.)
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