Education / essay / humor

Math, Misery and Motivation

Math and me….well I never liked it personally, but there is something to be said for it which would be mainly dollar signs for people who were lucky enough to grasp it, then expand upon those skills. I have spent enough time in 5th grade now that my math skills are begining to click in again (sans calculator). Recently I had the joy of spending four days in high school Algebra II. This basically consisted of me, a stack of worksheets, twenty-five sulky, sleepy, texting teenagers (per class), and no pencils. There was also an abundance of amnesia, sickness that required nurse’s passes and students who went to the restroom and never came back. I also now answer to “Miss” or “Hey Miss.”

Although the worksheets were supposed to be a “review,” nobody in those classes had apparently seen anything like it before, and they were completely horrified that it was a requirement. I tried motivation, I tried the old “You-are-going-to-need-this-stuff-to-find-a-job” threat. It did not faze them. Apparently they are not stressed about climbing the corporate ladder and they can already afford Iphones, so they pulled up their hoodies, texted at the speed of light, or dropped into a deep sleep sitting straight up in their chairs.

Meanwhile, Day 4 of the Worksheet Hostage Crisis finally ended. I found myself coasting out of high school and back to 5th grade where I feel I belong because there are fewer x and ys to deal with, no weird symbols with pastry names, no mention of roots being square or otherwise, no function of x as it approaches something, or infinity, numbers acting irrationally, quadratic headaches, coefficients that are inefficient….but I digress.



17 thoughts on “Math, Misery and Motivation

  1. Oh I feel your pain! When my classes got to the algebra level I worked day and night to keep myself one step ahead of them. Strangely at the time I began to enjoy it as I got the hang of it and finally grasped its use – but now I have no clue …………… Gotta love a challenge 🙂

  2. I liked uour sense of humor in this entire post, Lana. You had me laughing at the Math Hostage Comment, their pulling their goodies and using I phones was typical of current high schoolers. Threats are things I made my last year of middle school teaching. I enjoyed erasing those memories with preschoolers in an integrated classroom of developmental delays with typical “role” models. The pastry comment (I actuakky think “infinity symbol” would be easier “for me to swallow” if covered with glaze or powdered sugar. Your comment was something this donut – loving adult could relate to, lol. 🙂

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