Inspired by a ‘first line’ from PenHelps blog post (and my reply). The first sentence was my comment on that post. The rest soon followed.
Sadly I believe that if given the option between three non-fatal abdominal stab wounds and ten algebra problems…I would choose to be stabbed. I would probably even stand still and only scream a little bit, something that wouldn’t happen with the algebra. Ever seen someone with a spider/snake dance? My math dance is superior. It isn’t so much that I dislike numbers. In fact, I rather enjoy odd numbers and random decimals; however, algebra is an entirely different animal. One which gathers together elements and mixes ingredients that should never be put in the same bowl at the same time.
So called ‘higher mathematics’ is, in my mind, like the voodoo of the educational world. I wouldn’t be surprised to see teachers start walking around with little scapulars hanging around their necks soon. If it wards off the mixing of letters and numbers or the addition of those little squiggly symbols, sign me up for one that smells like sandalwood!
I know that this isn’t the best attitude for a teacher to have but let me be clear here: mathematics on the elementary school level do not cause me panic attacks. I am quite able to teach and grade upper elementary addition/subtraction/multiplication/division and even basic geometry. When n and x are merely placeholders for the missing side of the triangle I can still breathe…albeit a little less deeply. I am an author, a reader, a musician, a crafter…I am NOT an architect. I don’t understand those things. Give me a notebook and ink pens, I’ll craft sentences all day long happily. Just don’t give me a pencil and ask for number sentences…lead gives me hives.
I’m sure that there is some de-seated emotional or psychological issue that could be dug out and flaunted to show the world WHY I dislike numbers so much (Actually, I like odd numbers but the even ones are problematic) and why the willy-nilly addition of art and alphabet makes me sick to my stomach. I’m probably rebelling against a teacher or family member who loved numbers back in the day. But I don’t think so. I think that many creative types find the truth…there is a disconnect somewhere in which numbers and words don’t want to be friends. Maybe they had a fight when they were stuck together on the ark, with only wild animals for company in the hold, and neither of them remembers what the fight was about but now they can’t stand to be in the room together for very long. I don’t know.
I do know what side I’m on if the War of the Sentences ever starts, but that’s probably because I wouldn’t be able to understand General XYN of the Number Sentence Army, Platoon Circumference.