weapons of math destruction

better known as: how algebra brought Mel to tears…and not for the first time.

I have a hate, hate relationship with all things algebra… I consider algebra and anything related to it, a form of torture.

The first C I ever made was in 8th grade…when we started the unit on algebra. In 9th grade, I made my first D on a test…in algebra. I never failed but I can honestly say it’s the only class I’ve ever taken in which I felt like a failure.

Fast forward to college. If I graduated by a certain year, I wouldn’t have to take college algebra, only intermediate algebra. My guidance counselor and I worked out my credits, figured out what I would need to graduate without having to subject myself to a full semester of torture…and when it came time to graduate, I was 3 hours short. Which meant, I was 6 hours short because I would have to take college algebra to graduate.

It took me two attempts. I dropped the first class because the teacher didn’t teach it in a way that I could understand it. (okay, I STILL don’t understand it, but he never taught me to a point that I could at least fake my way through.) Finally, I found the right teacher, signed up, and made it through College Algebra with a C.

Whoot! May as well have been a 110% as far as I was concerned.

Fast forward to last night. Fishdog is in Oxford. My brother is at home 20 minutes away…and I’m here with Ian, almost in tears. He has 50 algebra problems (don’t even get me started on the amount of homework, which I believe is outrageous) and he was told that the homework counts as a test grade.

Yeah, I’m about to freaking cry.

I emailed my brother a sampling of the problems and he called me and tried to teach me how to do them over the phone. This is 8th grade pre-algebra y’all, and I was nearly having a panic attack. Every bad memory, every horrid feeling of inadequacy came rushing back. I felt like such an idiot.

Somehow, my brother finally helped me to see the light, so I helped Ian as best I could. We worked until 10:30 last night. Watching him was like watching myself. It’s a shame that I’ve passed him the anti-algebra part of my brain. We didn’t even finish half of the homework. I think we managed 25 problems.

So we got up this morning and did another 15. I sent a note to the teacher explaining that we did work very hard on the homework but we were unable to complete all 50 problems and I asked her not to write Ian up, give him a mark, or a warning, or punish him in any way.

How sad is that?

Thank God algebra was not in my life plan. I’m pretty sure it’s not in Ian’s either…

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