Friday, January 25, 2008

I still got it!

I'm going to brag: Miss 14 is in Algebra, I can still help her with her Algebra! I am a good mother! Heh! I'm bragging because I still vividly remember sitting in Pre-Algebra class in high school, shut up, yes I was too dumb to get into regular Algebra first, and while I sat there I stared at the overhead. I stared, and stared and stared. It looked like a foreign language and I could not get it. I have always gotten fair grades, I could have gotten great grades, but I rarely studied outside of class, and sometimes even skipped the homework. But in Math, I felt like an idiot. Miss 14 is a great student, straight A's in fact, except for math, where she has a B. It's not all my fault; Hubby was worse than I was in Math. Ahem... on to the story: I was a bad math student, not horrid, as I still managed mostly B's. But I didn't "get" it. It was so hard and it seemed everyone around me simply whizzed through it, I was frustrated with it. I took the Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, and then finally Advanced Algebra. All while many of my friends were in Calculus by then. I still felt stupid. Then I got to college. I had to drop an Algebra class because the professor was insane. Seriously! He slid around the room in his stocking feet writing on one board, then to other and wrote on that board, all part of the same problem. I couldn't follow the stocking-footed professor, so I dropped the class. Knowing I still had to have Math credits to graduate I stressed-a lot. After other circumstances and stops and starts, I decided to major in Elementary Ed. I took the elementary math course. The professor was brilliant. Suddenly I had one of those light bulb moments: I got math, I just got it. It wasn't hard, it was a puzzle! I LOVE PUZZLES! I took the other math courses I needed (including more Algebras) and they weren't hard either. Maybe it was my brain maturing, but it wasn't a struggle any more, sure, it still took work, but it didn't feel like I was completely lost any more.

I keep telling Miss 9 and Miss 14 this story. Mostly they think I am crazy for enjoying math problems. But I hope they also think, that some day the light bulb will turn on for them too, they just have to keep working at the puzzle.

I also believe, that for some of us, and this includes elementary, secondary and college students: your brain needs to just mature to the point where you "get it." My theory is that this also isn't just for math, sometimes our brains wiring just isn't connected the right way for what we are learning, but if we keep plugging along, the connection is made and FLASH! there goes that light bulb.

1 comment:

La Rêveuse said...

I hear you, the teacher does make all the difference. I've never been great at it, but I wouldn't have survived Trig and Analytic Geometry had it not been for my "teacher". His name was Jack, and he sat in front of me. He actually had to explain some problems to the teacher (she was the definition of a dim bulb.) He saved my life.

I can do the most important math--figuring out how much stuff costs when it's on sale, plus taxes, minus coupons, etc. And THAT was taught to me by Mom. :)