Growing up, I felt a lot of shame for not being good at math.
I was smart, so I should be good any everything I try. That is what my brain constantly told me, but that is also what my parents and teachers constantly told me.
So, it’s not a big surprise that my brain listened and harped on it too.
Math was just very frustrating for my brain, especially when we had to memorize formulas. This made me feel immense amounts of jangly stress, cause it was like I was going in blind.
Which, I mean, I guess I was?
Folks without aphantasia are able to picture the formulas and stuff in their head, I guess. What a game changer that must be when your mathing things out!
I mean, granted, those visual brained people still have to rely on their memory and they could be remembering the formulas completely wrong and that’s gonna fuck em up too.
But I had to sit there and say the formulas over and over in my head trying to remember them for the tests and it did not work out great.
I always felt so bad for not being good at math, because I felt like I was letting people down, most of all myself.
Especially since, for the most part, I had really great math teachers.
One was a woman so tall, the rumour was that she used to be INSIDE the Big Bird suit on Sesame Street. I never knew if this was true or not. She was extremely patient with my math-stunted ass and she helped me get through all the levels of Algebra.
Then came my senior year, where I chose to take Geometry. Well, it wasn’t much of a choice. We only had roughly four math classes at al Social Circle High School at that time and I’d taken two of ’em.
So I took the easiest math class left for me to take for my graduation credits, but it was taught by a preacher.
I’d had this teacher in middle school and he was pretty cool then. He introduced me to Frito Lay French Onion Dip during one of our incentive parties and I can’t eat it without thinking about his 8th grade math class.
But when I was a senior, he must have been having a bad year, because it felt like his goal was to fail all 4 or 5 seniors in his Geometry class. He made it HARD for us and I have no happy memories of that class except the day I was finally done.
I was real good at English though and this is where my real love always stayed. And my music classes – chorus moreso than band.
What was wrong with me focusing on that? What is wrong with anyone focusing on what they are good at vs. whatever some committee thinks all humans should know?
When I went to high school, it was very accomplishment focused and not at all “what is best for the kid?” or even, “what is best for the world?”
Like, if you were sorted into the “somewhat smart bucket”, you were immediately shoved into a competition pit with everyone else in that bucket.
The rich smarts were competing for the same scholarships as the not-rich smarts for the street credit, not because they needed the money to pay for school. That has always bothered me. There’s got to be another way to give well off kids recognition that doesn’t take money from people that need it.
I dunno, I’ve always really been bothered by that.
But I’ve also always been bothered by all the pressure on kids to be good at the same things.
So, I guess this is more of a ~discussion~ blog than a “let me tell you a fun story” blog, but it’s been on my mind, so it’s what you get.
What are your thoughts on this? Should we force everyone to learn the same things or should we celebrate and uplift our differences?