Mathochism: Lowered expectations
One woman’s attempt to revisit the math that plagued her in school. But can determination make up for 25 years of math neglect?
The grades are in, and it’s official: my A streak is broken. The Brofessor gave me a B in Algebra II. Considering how I did on the tests, that is the grade I deserve — I had about an 85 average all along, and probably got the same on the final. I just can’t let go of the belief that I would have done better had I had the dapper professor — heck, had I had anyone who wasn’t the Brofessor, who annoyed the hell out of me.
But the bigger problem is that, even at my so-called advanced age, I still allow personal dynamics to affect my performance. I had hoped that by now, my work ethic and talents had evolved enough that I could rise above such things. I had hoped that I finally absorbed the advice from my good friend M, who once told me, in an exasperated yet kind way that “you give other people too much power over your feelings!”
After all, I’ve had difficult bosses, and still produced good work. It wasn’t fun, but I got through. And sure, when I liked my boss, I blossomed and kicked butt. Hmm. Now there’s an image!
Still, when I was in school, how I did seemed to depend entirely on how I got along with the teacher. If it was a subject I was good at or interested in, I would do better even if I had a lousy teacher. But not always. That D in creative writing comes to mind. So does the D in French, after two years of straight As, and a later stint as a TA in college.
But I was a lot younger then, and quite immature. Perhaps not working full-time in a newsroom means I have regressed? Why else would I feel I’m back in the ’80s again? (Off-topic — leg-warmers have returned. Sigh.)
The adult thing to do now is to just carry on. I am signed up for geometry this fall and, barring health issues, hope to take the class, pass it and move on to pre-calculus. The geometry instructor has quite a few bad reviews on ratemyprofessors.com, which makes me wary. Just geometry itself brings up a lot of awful math memories and ups the ante on the math phobia.
One last thing: now that the grades are in, I am ready to evaluate the Brofessor. I will report the results here. This might just get ugly.
All text copyrighted by A.K. Whitney, and cannot be used without permission.