Tuesday, September 21, 2010
"NEW MATH": ANOTHER LIFE LESSON
Math has always been a challenge for me, but luckily I was enrolled in a class with an understanding teacher. He would work problems on the board all period and then at then end he would write three problems on the board for our homework assignment. I dutifully copied those problems down and as I left the classroom, I quietly told him that we hadn't covered that back in my old school. He smiled and said for me to do my best and when I caught up, I could turn in the work.
Each day I would go home and open up my binder and stare at the three problems. I would try many approaches to solve the problems, asked my mom for help ("Honey, I haven't been in school for over twenty years") and then return to class without solutions. At the beginning of the class, students would turn in pages of homework, which only added to my frustration. How could I be so dumb? Everyone else understood how to do the work? How did the students get pages of work out of three problems?
By the end of the week, I gulped down my nervous stomach juices and turned to the girl next to me and asked, "How do you get so many pages of homework out of three problems?"
To her credit, she didn't laugh, but merely said, "What are you talking about? Three problems? What three problems?"
I pointed to the board and said, "Those three problems from yesterday."
On the board was written:
PP 114-115 A, B, F
PP 116-118 C, D, E
PP 119-120 F, G, H
She explained, "That's pages one hundred fourteen through page one hundred fifteen and you do all the A, B, F problems. Then you go to pages one hundred sixteen through page one hundred eighteen and do all the C, D and E problems. Finally, you do the same thing with the last pages." From then on I understood the math a whole lot better. You see where I went to school in Texas, my teacher used the abbreviation pgs. for pages and not PP.
When I am stumped why someone doesn't understand something that is so clear to me, I try to remember how maybe they haven't had the same life experiences as me and they don't understand the shorthand I use.