Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

My algebra teacher lied to me!

About (mumble mumble) years ago, my algebra teacher, after watching me fail algebra for 3 semesters in a row, promised me that I would never had to look at another algebraic equation again. Lo, these many years have passed and now my own children are studying this damn mathematic nightmare and they have the unmitigated gall to ask me for help. Me, the person who almost didn't graduate from high school until my father lied to get me out of the math requirement. Even my own father realized that math and I are a toxic mix. The conversation goes like this:

Girl: What elements intercept between X and W?
Me: I don't know.
Girl: Oh wait, it has to be graphed.
Me: Number lines? I have no clue.
Girl: Oh, at 5, they intersect at 5!
Me: Uh huh.
Girl: I had to draw about 10 graphs to get how to graph.
Me: Mmmmm.
Girl: Now I have to graph the solution sets.
Me: Mmmmmm.
Girl: What does that mean, for number 9?
Me: I don't know what a domain is.
Girl: What do I graph?
Me: The solution sets are the answers.
Girl: Mommy, I don't know what I'm doing!
Me: Uh huh.
Boy: I suck at number lines. I can't help you.
Me: Man, those brownies were good!
Girl: Where's that cat? Maybe he can help!
Girl: Ooooo Oooo....oh, just kidding.
Me: (muttering under breath "please let it stop")
Girl: Oooo oooo ooooo, answers in the back!

Yes, it's another night of math homework that nobody in the house has a clue of how to do. The boy skipped this stuff in his school when he took Algebra 1 last year, and he's usually a big help to the Girl, but he just doesn't know this stuff. The Girl refuses to allow me to call or email her teacher. She promises that she will ask for extra help, but I'm doubtful. She doesn't have a great history of asking for help. The thing is, the school is supposed to have a full time aide for her in math as part of her IEP but the aide's father died and he left the state for several weeks. Did they find a sub for her? Why no! They have had various subs, but no one permanent and it's been totally chaotic. Again the school system is out of compliance, and it's only the second week of school. Time for more complaints. I swear it, if I get throught the year without a law suit over this kid's IEP it will be a miracle.
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Blogger neener said...

With an 8th grader at home, I'm back in Algebra land, but my kid knows I'm utterly useless. When he has a problem he calls his brother at college.

When his brother was in HS, I had the temerity on Back to School Night to ask "What the heck IS trigonometry?" Hushed silence, gasps! The striving parents of Long Island only wanted to know about the tests, and would there be a Regents exam at the end of the year, what was the grading curve, how much would homework count and would there be "extra credit" opportunities to bring up grades. Who cares what trigonometry IS.

Every time I've fantasized about going to grad school for say, Non Profit Management, or even something dreamy like Comparitive Lit, I am stopped dead in my tracks by algebra. To prep for the GRE's I'd literally have to learn to solve for X.

My kid's algebra teacher told them to read Flatland...anyone else remember that book?

19/9/05 11:49 AM  
Blogger Belinda said...

I always used to tell my parents (bless their hearts), "Look, when they start putting up highway signs that say 'SPEED LIMIT=X', followed by a formula, THEN I'll get real concerned about algebra.

HATRED. Is what I have for algebra.

22/9/05 7:27 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

You and me both, Belinda. I knew I liked you! Anyone who hates Algebra is my new best friend.

Just you wait till Bella is ready to challange your math abilities. Send her to boarding school!

22/9/05 8:40 PM  

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