Thursday, September 25, 2008

Algebra and the Art of Test Failure

I excelled in nearly every other subject, some because they came naturally and some because I applied some study skills.

But it's possible I have either an atrophied mathematics area of my gray matter, or I simply DON'T HAVE that lobe of my brain...I simply cannot do algebra (and you can imagine how much fun that makes geometry and chemistry, etc...)

What this has to do with homesteading, I don't know, except maybe I'm so very, very glad it doesn't take algebra to can vegetables, weed a garden, sell things at the farmers market, etc. (not that I'm even doing those things yet, but I at least feel confident I COULD if the opportunity arose...)

Today, my sister emailed me one of those Forwards that seem to make the rounds. My email box is where those Forwards usually go to die...I seldom if ever read them, much less respond to them. But today's was titled "How to Fail a Test With Dignity." I took the bait...

I've tried to cut and paste these from the email, but it didn't work. I did, however, find the same pics here and there on the web from others who've passed it around. These are mathematics-related questions, the sort that took me right back to those loooooooonnnnngggg classes where an otherwise bright student felt buried under a leaden weight of hopelessness, watched the mouth of the professor move, the pointer point, the dry erase marker mark the swirly lines and the cryptic letters and numbers on the transparent sheet on an overhead projector and then erase them with his/her thumb, have pop quizzes that may have as well been in Sanskrit or Swahili, and then asked the age-old classtime-wrapper-upper question only second before the dismissal bell rang "Now...any questions??"

Here is evidence I was not alone. (I have no idea where this email forward originated, so I give credit to whomever claims it) Yes, there are other hopelessly-algebraic-and-mathematically-crippled students out there, flailing around for answers to those ever-present tests the torturers/interragators math teachers dole out.

I'm having flashbacks...

Here's what kept me laughing this afternoon...

Oh, how this could have been me, trying to wrestle for an answer, any answer...


I sense an artistic soul anguished that the teacher can't existentially understand a simple English word here...

Shaken, or stirred?

I probably would have written "because he takes his bi-polar meds regularly"... (sorry)

Actually, which scenario here is more true to life?? lol


And my hands-down personal favorite... (not good for anyone to look at if you suffer from stress incontinence...)




I applaud all the algebraic zeros of the world, and your struggle to survive. I love your genius...I feel your pain.

;-)

9 comments:

Nola @ AlamoNorth said...

Too bad the instructors didn't have a sense of humor, and didn't give credit for originality and humor. I loved "find x"!!! LMAO

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Finally an algebra problem I can solve easily, I found the x! Yeah - I know what you mean, it boggles my mind. I can look at a picture of a quilt in a magazine and see how it is put together, and make one, or design a building for our landscape, that is aesthetically pleasing and practical too, but if I see lower case consonants and mathematical signs on the same page, my brain that serves me so well in every other area, shuts off automatically. It reminds me of our friends who are sooo big on education, they are like gigantic brains sitting in their house thinking, but they can't function in a real world, they have no heat in their house, and they go to town everyday for food. The property (40 acres) they live on has been in the husband's family for over 100 years, they barely come out of the house, more schooling, more schooling, I made the dean's list..., I worry about them, their math prowess will do them no good in the coming times, but boy they are good at all that higher math!

Thanks Robbyn, for a great post!

Robbyn said...

Nola, LOL yes, my favorite!

Nita, hahaha! it's the only sort I can manage, too... Ah, I do actually admire folks who can get their brains around algebra and so on, but I just can't myself. In any discipline, though, if you can't tie your own shoelaces but you have a wall full of PhDs, then pass along the 40 acres to some people who can grow you some food on it :)

Christina said...

LMAO..... Omy gosh... I never had the guts to be so witty!

Robbyn said...

LOL Christina!

Wendy said...

I wish I could reproduce the sound of me laughing uproariously! That was great!

Even more frustrating than the knowledge that I can't solve any of those problems is the fact that if I were to pose any one of those questions to my husband, in a matter of seconds he'd blurt out the answer and then give me that look that says, "Isn't that what you got?" Ugh!

MommaofMany said...

You (or technically he) has me laughing!! I also struggled with algebra all through school. I definitely had (and still have) a language/history bent.

After graduating, I saw a simple algebra problem somewhere like 2a+8=18
and only then understood that a actually was the same as __ , from grade school. I wish i had been better taught. I am learning it all now with my eldest using MUS.

Thanks for sharing!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

BWHAHAHA! These just made me smile. The last one is the best....so simple and so true.

Thanks for sharing these. I have similar Math blocks, too.

~Lisa

Gina said...

This brings back such bad memories of physics, chemistry and every other "science" test I had to take to call myself a biologist. Never again!