Nothing makes me more apprehensive or anxious than numbers. Math class was the bane of my existence all throughout school. As quiet as it’s kept, I almost didn’t graduate high school because I couldn’t master mathematics. I never took another math class again after I graduated high school, and even though I thought I could escape it, math keeps following me and reappearing at the worst times.
GRE? Geometry everywhere. Whenever I read my book they asked me to “remember” different formulas and I found myself screaming that I didn’t learn it the first time so what did this arrogant, presumptuous book mean “remember?”
Grad School? Today, we’re working with means, medians, modes, and data sets. Why can’t I escape this stuff?
I remember the moment I decided I hated math. It was a woman from Alaska that thought teaching in Texas was her calling. My hypothesis was that she actually hated kids, but perhaps 7th grade was just a little much for her. Who knows what was going on in her life? I’m more sympathetic to these things now than I was then.
Regardless, our collective energy was something that she couldn’t handle and she left within a few years.
It briefly started to turn around in high school with my Algebra II teacher that would let me sleep in class and tutored me after school. He was the first of my math teachers to see me as a human. He understood my long, early trip to school and late return at night. He worked with me to help me understand what was difficult. He made math fun and didn’t take himself too seriously. The next year, my teacher was the polar opposite, but my Algebra II teacher still helped me even though I was no longer in his class.
I have found more in common with my senior math teacher after talking with him as a teacher. He’s a former Dallas ISD teacher. He was young with a young family. I understand him more now than I did then. That doesn’t change the past, but it’s still positive.
A teacher made the difference for me and my learning. For better or for worse, it was the teacher that made the difference.
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