GreenishLady

Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday Scribbling: I Just Don't Get It!!!

That's this week's prompt over at Sunday Scribblings.

I said it a thousand times in maths classes. "I don't get it... Do you get it? ... Why don't I get it?" I so badly wanted to get it, to understand why we would do this or that with this set of numbers in order to ... I would ask, and be offered a series of steps to follow, but not knowing quite why I was following the steps made it really hard for me to remember next time what I was meant to be doing. Not knowing the right questions to ask left me struggling right through secondary school, doomed always to taking the class with the lowest expectations, and even at the very end, JUST scraping my way through the course that would allow me to qualify for college entrance. (Maths is obligatory for everything here.) I'm not stupid. I could follow other subjects. I could make sense of things other people couldn't understand. But when it came to maths... not a hope.

Imagine my shock and dismay when I'd embarked on my first college course to discover that one of the foundation year subjects that I had to take would be maths. Then imagine my amazement when the lecturer proceeded to introduce every topic with a clear explanation of just when and where and why this mathematical procedure would be used. It made sense! And when it made sense, it was so much easier to remember, and to work with. I couldn't believe that all through secondary school, this was all that had been kept from me, all I'd needed in order to begin to make sense of maths.

And with that, numbers stopped being a source of fear for me. I ended up working for some years in accounting, and when I decided much later in life to study psychology, and my fellow students were getting into a sweat over the necessary statistics modules, I knew, whenever I heard those words "I don't get it!", or found myself thinking the same thing, I only needed to go discover just why we'd be doing something to help me grasp the logic of it.

I'll never be a mathematical genius. I will always have to struggle and reach to understand, but now I know that it is possible to get it, when I want to, and that feels good!
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Go find out what the other Sunday Scribblers don't get HERE

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18 Comments:

At 23/3/08 1:04 am, Blogger Naturegirl said...

Wishing you the beauty of this Easter time with the sight of golden daffodils in the sunshine!

 
At 23/3/08 1:16 am, Blogger Greyscale Territory said...

I can definitely relate to the maths conundrum. I too did not like maths, but once I could see the reasoning and purpose involved (as when i had to study statistics as a compulsory component of my Geography course at Uni), suddenly it was manageable.

Great post!

Gemma

 
At 23/3/08 1:26 am, Blogger Tammy said...

Maths scared me out of returning to college but I bet I'd get it now. ;) Good for you!

Happy Easter!
XXOO

 
At 23/3/08 2:41 am, Anonymous gautami tripathy said...

I always did love maths. No wonder I became a maths teacher!

watered down

 
At 23/3/08 3:11 am, Blogger Granny Smith said...

I actually loved math up until college when I got into a trigonometry class taught by the college organist, who obviously didn't himself understand why he was going through various procedures. It took a wonderful course in astronomy with one of the world's best astronomers (equally good as a teacher)to make me love math again as he reasoned things through with us. His name, incidentally, is Alexei Filippenko, and you may have seen him on television shows such as Nova.

 
At 23/3/08 3:43 am, Blogger Lilibeth said...

I can identify with you. I hated algebra but loved geometry...and I think the difference was the teacher: I got it!

 
At 23/3/08 8:41 am, Blogger Robin said...

I grew up with a terrible math phobia. I did manage to scrape my way through calculus and statistics in grad school (and miraculously enough keep my marriage intact as my husband acted as my tutor!) but the moment I was done with the coursework it went straight out of my head again.

I STILL don't get it!

 
At 23/3/08 8:52 am, Anonymous Redness said...

Didn't get maths then, still don't but managed! Great post!

 
At 23/3/08 9:12 am, Blogger Thornbird said...

A fellow to share in my frustration! Unlike you, I guess I won't ever like math even if I get a good teacher...

 
At 23/3/08 11:12 am, Blogger Caroline said...

I think, speaking as a mathematician, the problem with maths is that its taught by people who DO understand it.

 
At 23/3/08 1:31 pm, Blogger paisley said...

the most amazing thing about higher math classes... is unless you want to be a scientist or a mathematician or an engineer all who are equiped with calculators to do said math for them any way... you will never again in the course of your life need it for anything ... so don't worry,, remember it long enough to pass the classes... and then forget it all...

 
At 23/3/08 2:05 pm, Blogger Sherry ~ Cherie ~ ms. herbes de provence said...

Oh I hear you with the Maths -- I just never got it either. And like you, I was "smart", I could understand other things, I did well in other subject...but Maths had me stumped. I love that you were able to finally understand the "why" and conquer the mystery of Maths!!

 
At 23/3/08 2:28 pm, Blogger Remiman said...

This struck a familiar cord with me. I was a poor math student for whatever reasons. However I chose a career where math, physics and Chemistry were the mainstays and still are. I can muddle through but it never brings me satisfaction.

 
At 23/3/08 3:07 pm, Blogger Patois said...

How lovely it was that you discovered a prof who opened one corner of the world to you.

 
At 23/3/08 9:56 pm, Blogger tumblewords said...

I've often thought that there are people who shouldn't teach certain subjects - lucky you caught up with one that could help... I can sure relate. Nice post...

 
At 24/3/08 12:54 am, Blogger Devil Mood said...

What a breath of fresh air!
Maths is a pain throughout the World because students lack the foundationsand the basic knowledge to follow the rules. But I find that if you have someone to explain it clearly from the start, it can be FUN! When I "got it", I had fun resolving the equations.
:)
I actually miss Maths a little, even though I feared it as a student.

 
At 24/3/08 2:49 am, Anonymous khambagirl, yakattack.typepad.com said...

I was the same way with Biology -- didn't understand it in school, but ended up majoring in it at Uni after my first class that explained it all. Happy Easter!

 
At 28/3/08 5:03 pm, Anonymous One More Believer said...

ohh math is painful... thank you for the post... it is encouraging...

 

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