Mathematics And Me! A Perspective from a 40 Something Wordy Nerd

<img src="numeracy.problems.in.adulthood.jpeg" alt="2+2=5">Numbers.  From messaging to banking the very existence of numbers is pinnacle to modern life.  Am I about to flow into a blog about how brilliant I am at mathematics or how profound numbers are?  Hell no, I can barely write a telephone number in the correct order.  I have an aversion to numbers along with the nightmares of being made to do long division without a calculator in school.  Although, I do have fond memories of one particular maths teacher (Mr Maguire where ever you are now I love you!) for not making me do pythagorean theorum and letting me have an intelligent conversation about Grange Hill and Blue Peter instead.

Talking of Blue Peter, I always wanted to produce a maths equation with the catch phrase ‘And…here’s one I prepared earlier’  ahem or not as the case may be.

<img src="blue peter.jpeg" alt="Blue peter">

I recently saw a film (can’t remember what it is called) about a maths student who attended Oxford Uni and was given the enviable assignment of ‘What is truth?’  The whole film sucked really but I was far too tired to care at the time.  The whole point was that numbers and equations are the only real truth in life.  If that is truly the case – sorry about the pun, then I’m totally done for and must be the worlds biggest porky pie teller!  I, only believe in words.  I was always in the top set for English and the bottom set for Maths.  That is just how life rolled for me and to be honest I couldn’t have given a trigonometery about it at all.

However, now I am running my own business and responsible for profit and loss.  Unless I make peace with numbers and equations – all be it very simple ones from a Pure Maths Genius point of view, then I’m quickly going to come unstuck.  It doesn’t take an Einstein to realise that the lack of some basic calculations equals a failing business and the words profit is substituted with loss and being a wordy woman it is associated with LOSER…as in you didn’t win or achieve anything.

<img src="numeracy.jpeg" alt="numeracy">It is fair to say that me and underachievement do not go hand in hand.  I may have fallen over figuratively speaking a few times but I dust myself off in my numberless and math-less world and let someone else write the telephone numbers in the correct order on my behalf before I get right back to being a success at what ever I have put my mind to. Some of my successes have been ‘outstanding’ – not my words by the way.  So, what is different this time?

This time I have no option but to wrestle with the numerical demon that hides under every calculatory bed – profit and loss remember!  Perhaps my previous loathing of everything numerical comes from flat page mentality.  What is this you ask?  It is giving no real life purpose to the numbers in front of a person.  It is teaching someone the formula but not where or how it is relevant in the real world. Then comes the question – well why do I need to learn it, what use is it to me?  Sadly, that was my world in maths class in school.  Do the formula, follow the rules and get the tick. What use is it?  Shut up and learn the formula!

To give an example to illustrate my point – after all I am a wordy nerd.  Imagine when I am teaching my Spanish language students the construction ‘I would like’  to native English speakers  it is simple, we know what ‘we would like’ whether it is a new car, to see a movie or enjoy a cold beer in a bar.  To Spanish students this is not so simple.  In their own language they use the forms ‘I want’ or ‘give me’ depending on the situation.  So, my point is – I can teach the students ‘I would like’ but in their own world they would not see a use for it unless somehow I put the language into the correct context and simulate a situation where it is clearly needed and useful – for example a restaurant scene.  However, never ever was I given a B&Q diy scene in a maths class where I needed to calculate the area of something so I could buy some tiles, or given a company scenario where I clearly needed to cost something.  Can you see the point I am trying to make here?

Luckily, for me I do have access to a maths genius and I get to cosy up to him every single night.  The closest I get to maths with him is counting how many pillows he has and quickly deciding if he has stolen one of mine.  He is the person who writes the telephone numbers in the correct order and questions if I am dyspraxic when I have moments of uncoordinated disasters along with the fault that I have no eye hand co-ordination or spatial awareness.  All is fine in my world where my spatial awareness is questionable if it means I can squeeze myself  into his space or even invade it sometimes.  After all he is holding a mighty big key to the success of Somewhere Over the Olive Tree  – all I get to do is write about it.

Published by Somewhere Over the Olive Tree

Prolific second hand shopper, rubbish rumager and upcycler, that sees beauty where non exists. From Dolly the Vintage Caravan to Dream Catchers I find inspiration and creativity where it is practically non existent to most people's eyes. My creativity comes from an intention of reducing waste and helping the planet by reusing things people throw away. I have refurbished my whole home from 'rubbish' to demonstrate what can actually be achieved with a little imagination, patience and maybe a glass or two of whiskey. I also adore the simple things in life like looking at the mountains, playing with my dogs, cooking, sewing and dancing. You can find out more on SOMEWHERE OVER THE OLIVE TREE on Facebook

One thought on “Mathematics And Me! A Perspective from a 40 Something Wordy Nerd

  1. You are so right, maths needs to be taught in a completely different way. It´s all very well for some clever maths teacher to see the beauty and patterns in numbers, and what can be done with them. But I was and still am just like you when it comes to maths, and I was frightened at a very young age by a maths whizz who just didn´t get that I couldn´t grasp a single word he said and berated me in front of the whole class. Shame on him.

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