Girl Math

If you should happen to not enjoy shameless whining, just ignore this whole post.  You’ve been warned (evil leer).

At this moment, I have spent the last hour reading the same five math problems over and over again.  I am so confused that I can’t even articulate what i’m confused about. 

Sir Raven and I came as close as we will likely ever come to a negotiation.  Behold:

Me: “How upset will you be on a scale of one to ten if I just pass this math class?”  (See? Numbers.  I know what numbers are.)

Her: Odd pause followed by clenched breath, which she swears she does not do.  She has to work to get this sentence to come out of her mouth: “A ‘B’ is a good grade.” 

Me: “Though it’s been a few years since I taught, I do believe that a ‘C’ means fair.” 

Her: Another restrained breath of constricted air: “A ‘B’ is a good grade.”

Topic Closed.

Note how she just side stepped the question I actually asked.  Yep.  Just like a nice little waltz, sans music. 

Really.  Fuck math.  There.  I said it.  And I was an educator, you understand.  They let me teach children.  To that end, I very dutifully spoke to classes about the joys of mathematics, and likely sounded a good deal like Sir Raven when she is trying really hard to not walk across the room to backhand me.  That is pretty much what I wanted to do to the math books.  Bah!

Seriously, yes, math is valuable for a million reasons.  (See? Numbers again.  I told you I know what they are). 

I can appreciate, from a very safe distance, that it makes my left brain work.  Incase no one figured this out yet, I shall reveal a secret of Epic Proportions: I am not a left brained person. 

I would like to take out the bell tower for the University thrusting me into a class for which I must sit annoyed and zoom in, zoom in again, zoom in some more and scroll wildly about to look at numbers or scales or whatever horse shit is on the page.  Fortunately, its an online thing so there isn’t a physical place for me to take out.  My vitriol sent out into cyber space will have to suffice, though it is very unsatisfying.

Disability Services noted that this would be hard. 

I can’t even manage to copy and paste the problems into a document and I don’t know what to do about that.  Let alone the problems.  The real annoying issue, to me, is that I can sometimes solve the problem.  What I can not seem to do is explain each step of what i’m doing and why, which is what we are supposed to be doing.

I taught Special Education, you all.  In Florida and Tennessee and there is a reason why those states end up at the bottom every single year in comparison to the other states.  I grew up in both places, mostly Florida, and i’m a product of the sum total of their flagrant failure to teach mathematics.  I managed to teach myself once I got into algebra because that made more sense then the rest.  With a calculator, thank you very much.  When I taught the Montessori method, I had to memorize the puzzles because I lack all depth perception or sense of object permanence.  I ask you, how in the hell is a person supposed to understand geometry when they have no sense of these sorts of things?

I am miserable.  Just in case I didn’t make that abundantly clear already.

I have no idea how i’m going to do this.  None.  I keep thinking of dutifully sending Sir Raven my grades for the week and they are all zeros.  Maybe she doesn’t actually look at that stuff anymore?

In other news, I have been researching over the counter ways to deal with fibromyalgia.  They have discovered that taking a whole lot of the same medicine that stops the brain from coughing also will stop the signals that transmit widespread pain.  It’s likely they will commence with doping us up with this method in the future because the pharmacy can make a buck…uh…i mean a pill form.  Whatever.  Hello Robotussin DM.  Yep. 

I spent most of yesterday in a miserable ball.  I hate myself when that happens.  I can and do push through the pain the overwhelming majority of the time.  Showering was the crowning achievement of my day yesterday.  Even that had to wait for Sir Raven to be home because I was having that thing happen where my leg was coming out from underneath me and nothing was keeping the fever down.  If i’m going down in the tub, i’d rather share that joy with someone else. 

So, i’m trying the cold medicine.  I choose one that is alcohol-free, despite my better judgment that informs me that doing this math crap might become at least mildly amusing with enough alcohol in me. 

i’m not sure if the pain is less or if I just don’t really care and am distanced from it.  Either way…winning.  Yep. 

I could fill the page with inarticulate babble right about now.  Sometimes, i’m tired of being me.  The “burden tape” starts and I find I have to use all of my mental faculties to shut that up immediately.

I can’t imagine anyone likes feeling useless or sick.  Not even the munchausen people.  They like the attention.  I find it embarrassing personally.  Sometimes, however, I just need to admit that really and truly…it’s bad.  The neurologists are starting to acknowledge that fibromyalgia is a neurological problem that has symptoms that can and do leave you miserable.  In my lifetime, it is possible the scientists will get it together and figure out what in the hell is wrong with us.  I also discovered something i had never found before, which is a problem with your spinal fluid that mimics or can be diagnosed along with fibro.  Interesting. I want to believe they will find a cure or at least a way to make us reasonably comfortable.  In the meantime, I will keep trying to keep my head up and get on with it.  Wallowing in the misery doesn’t solve anything.  It’s unattractive. 

So, speaking of solving, I have Math waiting for me.  And I really, really, really don’t want my beautiful GPA flushing down the potty.  Magna Cum Laude has a nice ring to it.  I have already messed up Suma by one B. 

The rest of the Master’s program does not have Honors listed….which is just absurd.  I have no idea why this is so but when I finish that part of the program, i’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief.  I can start to work again and Sir Raven will be able to retire in comfort one day.  That is the real honor that i’m working for.  I’ve got to keep my eyes on the prize. 




8 thoughts on “Girl Math

  1. sirqsmlb says:

    Oh Jade this breaks my heart. I wih I was closer – I adore math!!! Have you ever used It’s brilliant and shows you all the steps. I’m happy to help in any way I can with math problems – my Sir and I are total math geeks 🙂
    Please don’t think less of me now 🙂


  2. […] I was going to write something else, and then I read this piece by jadescastle this morning, at her blog, The Chrysanthemum and The […]

  3. Wordwytch says:

    Jade, Look up Dyscalculia.….See if it sounds familiar. Linguistically, we are usually at the top of the chart. However, our brains are not wired for higher level maths. Been where you are. Cried a LOT. Had two tutors to get through Business math. Can’t remember a formula 10 minutes after I’ve had it explained and used.


    • jadescastle says:

      This is really good information. Really good. The paper available on that site even has tips, some of which I’ve used both for myself and for my special ed kids. Some of it rings true. Thank you very much.

      • Wordwytch says:

        You are so welcome! I have to admit once I figured out what was going on, it helped So Much. I was talking with Wolf, and he said, “But everyone writes down the formulas…” not understanding. Then I said, “Yes, but when I look at the formula, it’s written in Greek letters or Cryllic. Then he understood.

        What I find interesting is that there is that duel edge. Frustration in math, and brilliance in language. Oh, and the fact that it varies in intensity.

      • jadescastle says:

        Having taught LD kids, the only consistent thing I’ve found is they (we) can’t skip any step whatsoever. Even something like reducing, if you are writing it out. Yeah, everyone writes formulas down but people who are not LD seem to be able to understand why….rather than just memorizing or having no idea why this formula goes with this kind of problem. Which is likely why we suck at tests. You have to switch back and forth. i used to use a colored sticky paper to keep my eyes from skipping down and had to do each step on wide ruled paper. Then the kind of paper for kinder kids. i refrained from drawing a picture at the top. It wouldn’t have been nice three hours later of one test. lol

      • Wordwytch says:

        I have sons that are LD. High IQ, processing issues. Oh, and dyslexia thrown in on one. I understand. Oh I understand. That’s why when you and Ms. C mentioned your math issues, I just had to say something.

        And for those without learning issues, it can be so difficult to explain why things don’t work.

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