Mood = Fucking Stoked  

Fallic40 53M
3214 posts
7/19/2006 8:12 pm
Mood = Fucking Stoked

In Praise Of Polyester
Aug 23, 2005 7:23 pm
Mood: enthusiastic, 347 Views

Did you know that the list of things that you can do with an advance degree in mathematics are surprisingly limited? I had said that I would tell what I really want to do with my degree.

I would love to be a math teacher.

Yep, that's right, a polyester wearing, comb-over sporting, calculator porting, high school mathematics teacher: the bane of every student's existence.

“Laugh on,” you say, “surely you jest?”

I say.... NO TALKING IN THE BACK OF THE CLASS

This is a plan that will have to be put on hold until my girls are 18 as the ex-Mrs. Village Idiot still expects to be kept in the style that the state of Oregon deemed suitable for her.

That, and the fact that my girls have nightmares about walking into a classroom and finding dear old dad lining out quadratic equations on the blackboard. Of course, my oldest daughter has no problem bring 9 or 10 of her closest friends over with a pizza when they have problems with math at school.

Please note: there is no limit on what I will do for a pizza.

So should I start investing in clip-on ties?


**************************************************************************************************

I wrote these fateful words at the end of last summer. And of course, in the manner of all real lives, there have been violent deviations from “the plan”. In the past 11 months, I have had a heart attack, been down-sized (funny, I don’t feel any smaller), enjoyed a very leisurely spring and returned to the work force.

One of the things that I did while I was recuperating/unemployed/playing was fill in as a substitute professor for a college math professor who had broken a leg playing soccer. (Honestly, I didn’t do it, I swear.) I had a blast and it fueled a lot of the thoughts that were contained in what is one of my all time favorite posts: Village Idiot, Front And Center, Boy, Answer Problem #7.

At the time, I was given a very interesting offer of employment as a math professor but unfortunately, as listed above, the dosh wasn’t so good and I could get paid much better working in industry. Having dreams is truly wonderful, but my reality contains a harpy knows as the ex Mrs. Fallic who I need to cater to for another 6 years.

Well, in a manner belying my new found maturity, I did not burn any bridges with the college and I have been talking to the Dean of Mathematics as he and I became pretty good friends. He and I agreed to disagree on many of the finer points of mathematicians and acadaemia. Finally I have acquiesced to his requests and I will be teaching a night class for him during the fall term. I get to teach a very basic math class.

**************************************************************************************************

“I fucking hate math. I can’t fucking do it.” I cannot tell you how many people have left such comments in various posts I have made that mention mathematics. I have taught math classes where I devote an entire lecture to this terror of mathematics. It is like a group therapy session........................

People do not realize how many mathematical calculations are made subconsciously without causing duress. It’s a bit like breathing ‒ it’s only when people start thinking about it, that they start to hyperventilate. (If you ever want to gain an unfair advantage playing golf or tennis, just ask someone whether they breathe in or out on their backswing. Their entire rhythm will disintegrate.)

Anyway, let us get back to mathematiphobia. (Is that a cool-arse word, or what?) I truly believe that this phenomenon was caused by pig ignorant math teachers who tortured students by making them go and answer math problems ----- ON THE BLACKBOARD.


from the above mentioned post

**************************************************************************************************

Do I truly believe in mathematiphobia? Absolutely.

Now I will have an opportunity to examine my theory, examine my skills, and examine my compassion.

Yes, it will only be one class. I will be teaching on Monday and Wednesday evenings for two hours plus I will have an office session on Wednesdays for an hour. There will of course be the task of grading papers and tests ‒ but that is no different to some of the work I bring home now from my day job.

So what do I need to teach in this class? I will be teaching basic addition and subtraction as well as fractions, decimals, percentages and multiplication and division. These are subjects that most master by sixth grade. But some people need a little more help than others and hopefully I will provide that help …. and a few laughs along the way.

Again I will reach back into my theory and apply as many real world applications to math as possible: counting change, playing cards, etc. And no, the walk of shame to the blackboard will not be a featured part of my class. But perhaps some ultra-cool clip on polyester ties will be front and center in the class.

The accompanying picture is a fractal: a formula or algorithm that constitutes an efficient way of formulating computer graphics. Fractal graphics translate the natural curves of an object into mathematical formulas, from which the entire image can later be constructed.


runzwithknives 59F

7/20/2006 4:50 pm

Wow, if that picture picture is math, I certainly missed out. Good luck. Sounds like you will have a bit of fun with it. I so wish I could be a fly on the wall in your class Hugs, Rosa


nedthebundler 56M/59F

7/20/2006 5:18 pm

Fallic,
I did have the good fortune of experiencing an outstanding Math instructor in school. The unfortunate part is that it didn't happen until I took some acedemic upgrading at a trade school. If I remember correctly, his first words to the class were "Everything you've been taught about mathematics until now is bullshit, I'm going to teach the right way."

I still have the notes I took for that class, and that was 24 years ago...

One of his favourite sayings was "A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse."

I hope you have the chance to enlighten some young minds.

Madness takes its toll. Exact change please!


rm_Icewomin 46F
610 posts
7/21/2006 10:48 pm

i have an uneasy relationship with math. although i can do math, i try to avoid it. on the other hand, i appreciate what math can do for me. it sounds like you have a better relationship with it.

as for teaching...in maintaining my cover as a mild mannered business analyst, i am sometimes called upon to teach in group setting...i despise it. i much prefer one on one consultation. but there again, it sounds like you have enjoyed teaching already and will enjoy it again this fall.

so good for you!

but i'm really writing to ask if you'll post a photo or two of your clip-on ties as they become available.


OboesHonedIambs 62F

7/22/2006 1:39 am

Thats one of the prettiest fractals I've seen.

I'm of an age and generation of women who were inadequately schooled in math - and where it was trivialized - "Don't worry about it, you'll be a housewife and taking care of a home and you won't need it that much." And we girlchildren complied.

But I do math, as you say, almost unconsciously - comparing weights and pricing units grocery shopping; buying fabric for sewing projects, using geometry to calculate how to package and box items for shipping and storage or for solving how much material I need and the dimensions of it I need when making a Christmas tree ornament. There are probably 20 more things I do math for competently.

But the nuances of algebra, trignometry & calculus are lost on me. With practice I could probably rememer how to factor a polynomial, but that's about it, and even then I would be experiencing High Anxiety of the Brooksian variety. The language of higher math does not compute - it's like a jumble whose meanings I am unable to organize, even though the language is far more precise than words. I recognize what my old teachers conveyed was with the best intentions shaped by their era and understanding of social expectations, but I do feel So Screwed anyway.

Instant Human -- Just Add Coffee


Fallic40 53M
1858 posts
7/23/2006 5:05 pm

precious orchid, I have had those math teachers too. They have that bland monotone voice and before you know it, you are sound asleep.

The great thing about fractals (the pictures) is that they provide one of the most visual results for math.


Fallic40 53M
1858 posts
7/23/2006 5:08 pm

Hi Rosa,

It will be a challenging and also a rewarding class. It seems that the high schools in that area of town have been graduating students who are both illiterate and innumerate so I am sure that there will be a lot of creativity needed.


Fallic40 53M
1858 posts
7/23/2006 5:12 pm

Icewomin, I love how you phrased it - "an uneasy relationship with math". It is such a great phrase that, with your leave, I will use it in my introduction.

Teaching in a group setting is something that I have just gotten better and better at with practice. I could never have done this when I was 22. I would rather have had my pubic hairs pulled out one by one. That is how much I hated speaking in public. But over the years, after being forced into numerous business meetings and presentations, I have become more and more comfortable with it.


Fallic40 53M
1858 posts
7/23/2006 5:15 pm

Hi Ned, I had some great math classes in trade school. I put myself through college as a machinist so I have a back ground in "real math" as well theoretical math.

I still love doing CNC programming and one of the delights of my new job is that I get to do some of that plus all of their saw optimising as well as my normal planning work.


Fallic40 53M
1858 posts
7/23/2006 5:21 pm

abqlady, the way math is taught is still a problem. I noticed it with my oldest daughter as soon as she hit high school. The teachers were not so much interested in only teaching the boys, but they were much more interested in teaching the 10% of the class who were mathematically inclined. In my book, that is cheating. Anyone could teach that class. Teaching the disinclined is much more difficult.

However, growing up in the UK and going to school there, I now realize that there was a lot of stereotyping that was placed within the curriculum as a form of "career preparation".

And I bet that there are 100s of things that you do mathematically well that you just do not realize. Just think of every little math decision you make behind the wheel of a car for starters.


fantasia_shares 47M/43F
4164 posts
7/28/2006 4:34 pm

LMAO...good for you...

I'm pleased to announce that my emergency substitute teacher teaching certificate just arrived in the mail! Hooray! I get to be a sub (and you thought school teachers don't make enuf). Ummm...we make our own pizza though...it's much cheaper that way



Fantasia

You might want to know who to watch out for around here: Are YOU a Dirty Bad Man or Woman? !

Please tell me the secrets of your sex appeal Primping!

And a MUST READ: [post 2294897]

Just shamelessly pimping my own damned blog!
{=}


_Safira 53F
11260 posts
7/31/2006 11:04 am

I have a few clip-on ties ... I have a certain address ... and I know of a certain birthday ... What to do? What to do? Ah-ha! / {=}

This is my blog - Comes With Warning Labels. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

RECOMMENDED READING: A F F ... The Only Site For Me?


Become a member to create a blog