Sunday, December 14, 2008

For Example...

I've always hated math. well, I guess it's not the math I hate so much, as much as it is not understanding the math. when I get it, and I understand the problems and how to solve them, I'll do it. but it seems like I never could understand it like I was supposed to. and the math books themselves never, ever helped, even a little bit.

This has been bottling up inside me since I had my very first math book, and I'm sure any person who has ever been in school can relate. Y'know those "examples" in the book? they're supposed to show you how to do the problems, so you can do them on your own. but the examples I had in my books--in every single math book I've ever owned--have never once aided my learning process.

It would go like this. I would look at all the examples in the chapter, and they would be stuff like, "5 + 10 = 15" or "8 - 2 = 6". yeah, okay. you think to yourself. piece of cake. then you would go to problem #1. you frown, and turn back to look at the example, then look at the problem again and frown some more, cause the actual problems were stuff like, "What's 350 divided by half of four times the square root of the hypotenuse when 45.8 equals one angle of an isosceles triangle?" Usually, I would ponder this for a few minutes, flipping back to the examples every so-often, to make sure I was on the right chapter, and then say to myself, "Self, why don't we go take a stab at that Spanish homework?" and make a fast getaway. slick.

Other times, the examples were about powers or something, and then the actual problems were like, story problems! Example: "2 squared = 4." Problem #1: "If Jerry leaves Toledo in a single engine aircraft going southeast at 47 mph, and after he's gone 22 miles the wind begins to blow from the northwest at 74 mph and throws poor Jerry into a tailspin for five and a half minutes, and then the wind stops and one of Jerry's wings falls off, what time does Jerry reach Albuquerque?" Hmm, well, let me just consult my EXAMPLE!

Seriously, what's so bad about giving you examples that are just as hard as the actual problems?? what harm could that do, except help you catch on a whole lot faster? honestly. makes me wish I was a real smart math person, cause then I'd write a math book with good, helpful examples. pfft. like that'll ever happen, thanks to my math books. (yes, I have a pretty good sized chip on my shoulder).

Anyways, that's it. it's been bottled up inside me for a long, long time now. whew. I feel better. sort of. but now I have to go back to my math book, horrible examples and all. oh well. the torment ends on TUESDAY!!

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight." --The Tokens.

2 comments:

Kaylene said...

This makes me think of the Saxon years in grade school. They would do exactly what you said. Simple (encouraging) examples and then BAM! practice problems seemed to exist only to make me feel stupid. They were pretty successful at it. After series of counseling sessions I'm still struggling to forgive Mr. Saxon.

Tori said...

Jo - Looking forward to SUnday the 27th! Still on for coffee!!! Whoo hooo! Excited to see you!