It is OK to Hate Math

Let’s face it; I am one of those people that are not good at math, a subject that I still struggle with to this day. No matter how hard I try to work very hard to work out a problem I still get low grades.

Which is why I still use a calculator to this day in math class, but now my final math class won’t allow me to use a calculator, which makes me feel even weaker at this subject. To me amongst all other subjects’ math is one of the most anal and particular; either you are right or you are wrong and math. In a way, forces people to constantly focus on getting it right instead of trying your best to solve and calculate the problem with a way that works for you and not making sure everyone gets the right formula with the right answer. However, there seems to be a persona among the math and even the science communities that if you understand it the textbook or teacher completely and answer every single question right you are acceptable. While the others who work hard and still do not get it right are left alone to figure it out; and when something like this happens it all ends with, “I quit”.

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Yet even though we feel like all our hard work is done, these subjects want to hammer people in the head relentlessly if we do not like them and if you don’t like it they just don’t care. One Chuck Jones cartoon that really emulates what I ‘am talking about called A to Z-Z-Z where a little boy if forced to do a math problem on the chalkboard. When he daydreams, the numbers become an army with swords and spears, the boys chalk stick becomes a sword and fights them down Errol Flynn style but then a giant number runs after him and then his daydream opens back to reality where the teacher tells him to mail out a letter. Chuck Jones cartoon is not just a cute cartoon but also a warning to schools everywhere to be creative and imaginative when teaching every subject. Sadly, schools all over have to put their blinders to focus on math and science repeatedly and now it’s not just our schools but educational media for children too. Recently, Sesame Street not only was told not only to do words, letters, numbers, and lessons on kindness and tolerance but also to do…science and math.

One game for children that supposedly teaches physics to five-year-old’s is a game where you try to shoot Grover out of a cannon to get him to land in certain areas. The question you might be asking is why do they want five-year-old’s to understand something this complex as well as reading? To recruit them early on to first and second-grade education without even going to Kindergarten or spending time with their parents. Why is this a problem, because at age five and up children are still learning about who they are and are able to make assumptions and decisions about how things work or don’t work based on their previous behaviors but have yet to learn about sequencing and complex structures like math and science. Yet even though every psychology book says this constantly to parents and doctors. Thousands of computer games, apps, and websites try to make them smarter than a fifth-grader when they are only five or six.

One of these games I used to play that was marketed to this group was I Love Math, which at the beginning had a girl named Gretchen screaming, “I HATE MATH!” Sadly, this poor girl and her friend Wilbur would though out the game ruin and steal things all because she hated math and your job in the games was to fix whatever she did. Now that I ‘am older I now feel angry that such a game would portray this frustration as a wicked Carmen San-Diego scheme rather than helping Gretchen and Wilbur discover how math helps people and it has impacted various civilizations. To my surprise, the early covers to these games had a happy kid that has crossed of the words I Hate to I Love, which is very sad because this represents how much tolerance and understanding has been lost to conformity and group think in our schools and educational programming. Maybe Pink Floyd was right when he said we don’t need no thought control in the song Another Brick in the Wall. In a way, this stagnate formula could result into a terrible amount of over-control over who hates a certain subject; but instead of these institutions of learning over-controlling the haters we should understand why they are haters and respect their hard work no matter how right or accurate the answer is. Instead of constantly doing a problem repeatedly with the same formula, we should ask the Cyberchase Question, “What would happen if…” That way we can discover our own ways for us to solve problems and come up with an answer that shows that no matter what different steps you take you can still pass the class, even while still hating math.