#117: Algebra


person holding black and grey pen

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Time to talk about Algebra, everyone’s favorite math subject.

These past couple days, because it’s the season of the flu and fever and bronchitis and all kinds of terrible illnesses, people have been out at work. The math teacher has bronchitis while the assistant has the flu, which means I’m covering math for a bit. Nothing wrong with that; I feel comfortable in charge of a class of kids, and discipline has never been my biggest weakness as a teacher. But the unfortunate, unlikely part of it all that goes unnoticed is that I still don’t know math that well! I’m a noob when it comes to knowing Algebra and Calculus and whatever else is being taught in math these days. It’s been years, literally I think five years, since I’ve been a student in a math class, which seems longer than it actually is. Pre-Calculus was my math requirement as an undergrad liberal arts major, and I despised it because the difficulty ramped up exponentially in that class. It was a whole different beast compared to what high school pre-calculus was like. I took regular calculus in high school in my senior year, but pre-calculus in college was massively worse.

When I was a kid, I used to think I was great at math, that my ingenuity when it came to figuring out problems in complicated ways would help me with math in the future. Unfortunately, “showing your work” became an issue for me. I was never good at remembering the correct procedure to figuring out problems; I would figure out problems through backwards, second-rate procedures, and my teachers didn’t like that very much. My creativity found its home in English as a subject soon afterwards, and I am happy to say that English has continued to be my favorite subject ever since.

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