Monday, May 30, 2011
'Wrong, again?!' That is the phrase I would recite as a I scanned through all the red smeared across every single graded math test I received from a teacher. I can't even count how many tests I have crumbled up and stuffed into the recesses of my backpack, hoping that I would forget them. No matter how I excelled in the humanities, social sciences and extra currix math always felt like a constant hurdle. But I have to tell the story from the beginning...
Picture it: It's 6th grade math and we are all sitting and watching our brilliant black, male, attractive, fit... math teacher write problems on the board. While going over the lecture he would randomly quiz students in the class. I'm sure you have all experienced this random quizzing teaching method. And if you haven't, then consider yourself lucky. I sat there, smacked by puberty and awkward, hoping he would not freakin' call on me. But, of course he did. All eyes shot to me and in my nervousness I lost track of my thought and blurted out any answer that sounded like it just might be right. Well, I was wrong, again.
My teacher sighed with disappointment and I tried to sink as deeply into my seat as possible. To make matters worse, a kid who was more popular than me snorted, 'stupid' from across the room. From then on, I vowed to mentally resign from every future math class. I repeated over and over to myself that math was just not something I was good at and I should stop trying. No really- I stopped trying to be good at it or even to learn it. I just checked the frack out and spaced out in math classes for the next 6 years.
And now I deeply regret it. You need math for freakin' everything. You need math to understand music, you need it to figure out a humane tip for a waitor/ress, to figure out if you're being cheated out of money etc. You need math to live in this society. And it's a skill I just don't have. More importantly, it's a deep source of shame. I feel that by not being mathematically competent that I have failed my parents by wasting a portion of the money spent on private tutors to supplement my private school education.
So what am I going to do? I am going to take some math classes at a community college - that's what!
Will I be scared? yes. Will I feel stupid? At times, yes, but those moments will pass. Will I wish that I weren't there? Heck yes. But you know what-- I really want to gain more confidence in this arena and I no longer want to feel math-handicapped!