Monday, April 15, 2013

Mathematics

Let's just say Maths and I have a very... difficult relationship.

Eleven years of schooling and we still are not on very good terms. It's been a comparatively smooth ride in the past year, but I have a feeling things are going to take a turn for the worse. Maths has been the only steady member of Ruin-Zainab's-Okay-Report-Card; Physics joins it occasionally. 

My relationship with Maths stretches can be classified into two: Before Class 10 and After it.

In the Before universe, the subject was Pure Evil. Designed to pull down my self-confidence. I'd even had a nervous breakdown in 7th standard when my teacher taught negative numbers, something which I find extremely funny now. If I had a time-turner, I'd leave a note for my younger self, telling her to stop being a sissy and brace herself for much bigger problems.

At that time, numbers seemed harmless enough, sometimes they really were, but most of the time they made my head hurt. When I thought I'd done well in a paper, I'd probably made tons of careless mistakes: writing 6 instead of 9, not paying attention to the + and - signs, meaning to answer 6 for 4+2 but writing 8. Gah. And don't get me started on geometry. Set squares were a menace, my compass slipped while trying to draw circles, the protractor was barely manageable. 

So when it was time to begin tenth grade, my mom decided to take matters into her own hands. (For non-Indian readers: Class 10 aka SSLC is a Very Big Deal in my country. These drabbles might give you an idea of how big. Indian readers are also welcome to read them.) 

She's amazing at math, especially the do-it-in-your-head kind. So is my dad. Sadly, the genes skipped me. 

And so she began coaching me. Taught me tips and tricks, cleared my doubts, but most of all, she made me practise. "Practice is the key to perfection!" she'd declare and then set me a lot of problems. Easy for her to say. I was the one racking my brains.

Naturally, on the eve of my math SSLC exam, I wasn't the only nervous wreck in the house. My dad had warned me beforehand to keep a straight face in front of my mom even if the exam went horribly wrong. (I used to have a bad habit of crying when exams were disastrous.) And boy, I thought I was a goner for sure when I finished that paper. I had a feeling that I'd made TONS of careless mistakes. 

Imagine my surprise when I found out I'd got an A+ for it. (If you can't imagine it, read about it here.)

I think that did wonders for my relationship with Maths. Last year, in eleventh grade, I did most of my math-revision without parental (read: maternal) supervision and I think I'll pass the exam with flying colours. The results haven't been published yet.

I've so far been optimistic about the next year's syllabus, but I saw the Class 12 textbook a week back. Matrices, four chapters of Calculus (!!!) and a bunch of other stuff that could have burned my eyes if I hadn't closed the book immediately. I'm scared.

Fingers crossed for a Math-worry-free academic year!

14 comments:

  1. Moms to the rescue!
    I had two phases in my relationship with Maths too: the pre-Year 7 phase and the post-Year 7 phase. It used to be the ugly duckling on my report card, and just like you, my parents were really offended that I hadn't got their math-genes. But something just happened in Year 7 and I became so great at Maths (I'm majoring in Accounting now!). I don't know what it was, maybe just a lose screw that got tightened.

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    1. Accounting? Wow. That's a complete 360 degree turn! :D

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  2. You must be much better than you thought you were! My problem was, in the UK, they put you in all the same groups for English, Maths and Science. So if you were great at one but sucked at the others you would be all in the top groups anyway. I'm not sure if that's still the case; it certainly didn't make much sense at the time. So I was always sort of in over my head in Maths, and got a worse grade than if I'd been in a class that suited my level. (The one I was good at was English, BTW!)

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  3. I share your earlier aversion to Maths. Calculus and Trigonometry are still dark mysteries to me. Good choice for M Day!

    Happy A to Z!

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  4. I almost hated math because of the horrible math teachers at my school. Then, I became a math tutor in college, and an engineer! A love of math can be had by anyone with a great teacher! If you hate math, then your math teacher is probably not doing a good job. :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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    1. I might agree with you on teachers influencing a student's interest in the subject. Physics was hell, but I got through it just because of my amazing teacher.

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  5. :) + Maths= :(

    Just out of curiosity, which subjects did you opt for your +2?

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    1. Physics, Chem, Math and Bio :) Funnily, my future plans don't involve any of these 4 subjects :D

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  6. I hated math when I was a student and now I need not deal with it anymore. :) Anyways really nice post.

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  7. Good Luck, sometimes the math problems are the way it's taught. Everyone's mind works differently. A-Z

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