Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I Didn’t Always Love Math

As I’m preparing my classes for the fall, I'm terrified that they’re going to be boring. Back when I didn’t like math, just about every math class I took was boring — most of them dreadfully so. (And, come to think of it, the same can be said of a goodly number I’ve taken when I have loved math *cough* like Complex Analysis *cough* *cough*.)Book Award is Presented To... I recently remembered an incident from elementary school when I told my parents that I hated math. They told me that I didn’t, and I remember thinking that they were very, very, very wrong.

for outstanding interestThe only reason that I did well in math classes up through pre-calc was that I found it easy. The teachers in Course II, Course III, and pre-calc didn't check homework, so I didn't do it. I stared out the window or drew pictures or read books in class. After failing a calculus test (trig subs), I started doing some calculus homework. But not all that often.

and achievement in EnglishIf you had asked my high school teachers what I was going to major in at college, they would not have said math. What inspired my change of thinking? A coincidence that made me think about the structure behind it all. I was taking two math classes (because an easy boring class is better than a hard boring class), and in one of them we were solving second order differential equations and in the other we were solving second order recurrence relations. Despite these two topics seeming totally unconnected, there were amazing parallels in their methods of and forms of solution.

I really don’t want to teach one of those dreadful boring classes that I hated.