I do not have a good relationship with math. As a matter of fact, I hate it. It gives me hives and makes me want to hide under the bed. I just could not be bothered to learn my facts when I was in school, and the ones that I did learn had an annoying habit of dissapearing when I needed them. I’m sure the intense anxiety I felt when faced with math did not help me to be available to learn. And my poor father. He would spend hours every night sweating over my homework with me. I can still hear him saying “The rules don’t change Jan!” Why couldn’t I remember them when I moved from problem to problem?
My problem with numbers extends to the numbers of highways. I-290 AND I-294 guys?? Really? You have to be kidding me! How an I supposed to remember which of those numbers I want to drive on? I would try to fix the road number I wanted in my head, but then those slippery little devils would insist on sliding around and changing position. I had number soup in the brain and a certain anxiety of being lost and never coming home again! Why couldn’t they have given the highways nice names like Buttercup and Aspen, for example, so I could have a fighting chance?
I didn’t know if I would graduate college because of math. I had to take a running start with some remedial classes. I worked very hard and each semester my grade went down one level, but I managed to pull that C in College Algebra and rejoiced that I would never have to face math again in my life! Or so I thought…
Recently I was asked to tutor a child in math. I had tutored her older brother and her mom informed me that her daughter only wanted me, and no one else. Oh the irony! Here I am on the other side of the math struggling equation. I fear not being able to help–kind of the blind leading the blind. But on the other hand, I hope that I am the perfect person for the job. I can share my own struggles, and I have complete empathy. I can tell them that they can be a smart wonderful person even if those pesky math numbers are only visitors and not permanent residents in their brains.