I hate/love math!

My high school geometry teacher must have thought I was gifted at math (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!) since she nominated me to take part in a math test/contest when I was in the 10th grade.   It was humiliating.  Very humiliating.   I admit that I was good at geometry — it was intuitive to me.  I’m not sure that I should admit this on a public forum that I never did the homework for the class yet I almost always aced the exams and quizzes.  And I don’t think I should mention the one hall pass that I used throughout the year to skip geometry class and play with the jazz band instead.  Algebra and trigonometry were much harder for me.  I pulled an A in trig only because I studied, studied, studied and memorized, memorized, memorized!  The one 3″ x 5″ card with formulas that my teacher allowed each of us to use during exams helped a lot too.

 

Calculus was an enormous challenge for me.  I probably would have received a BS rather than a BA if not for the math hurdle.  I dreaded the thought of two quarters of differential equations though I was strangely fascinated by the concept especially when my geeky math/science/engineer friends spoke so lovingly about them.

 

I find mathematical concepts quite fascinating.  Case in point: a number of years ago I was talking to a coworker about digital recordings of music and how the sound would become more like the “real” analog music as the sample size got smaller but it could never equal the original.  A another coworker who listening in on the conversation interjected with “you’re talking calculus!”  He was right.  I don’t feel the same affection for math calculations.  I have painful memories of the dreaded Chain Rule.  Argh!

My favorite part of my Calculus courses was when we did some miscellaneous advanced math like vectors, matrices, and polar coordinates.  I liked series too but I often got mixed up while working with them.


There are some people who think that there is a learning disability, Dyscalulia, specific to math, something akin to dyslexia. I wouldn’t doubt it.  I had no troubles in math until the third grade.  That’s when the students at my school were divided into groups according to ability.  I was initially put into the top math group but I could never finish my assignments in the time given.  The fact that I was too busy talking to the other kids and not doing my work probably had something to do with it.  But even removing that consideration, I had trouble finishing the work fast enough to please the teacher.  So I was taken from the top math group and put into the bottom one with a few boys who I thought were dumb.  All we did was (attempt to) memorize multiplication tables.  I hated it.  I was bored.  I refused to do it. To this day I still don’t have all the tables memorized.  What 11 x 12?  Let’s see.  That would be the same as (10 x 12) + (1 x 12) which is 120 + 12 which is 132.  That’s how my brain works.  Perhaps for some people it would be easier to memorize that 11 time 12 is 132.   Not me.

My mom saved most of my elementary school report cards and scores from standardized tests. (Thanks, Mom!) I consistently scored high on math concepts and terrible for math computations.

And just in case you ever need to know, the integral of the natural logarithm of x is  x ln x – x + C (where C is the constant of integration).  Don’t ask me to derive or prove it.  I can’t.

 

 

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One Response to I hate/love math!

  1. Karen says:

    We were supposed to learn our times tables up to 12? How did I miss that?

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