Friday, 3 April 2009

Brain wiring!

I think I've cracked the reason why I don't like maths very much. It came to me in a flash as I sat trying to work out some trigonometric identities in the very bedroom I studied maths in as a teenager (and felt exactly the same as I do right now!)
With maths there is a right and wrong way of doing things. We must arrive at the correct answer or else we fail. Simple. There is no room for creativity with numbers - you either get it or you don't. Sadly, most of the time I don't. I have a creative mind you see - it's why I like writing. Some people love the idea of having only one correct result, a definite answer to a problem, a satisfactory solution. It's like a boundary in the brain that says "Ok, this is the way it is - stick to the rules and you'll be fine'. 2+2=4 no room for deviation.
The thing I love most about writing is that there are no real rules. Maybe I'm just a bit of a rebel! Granted there are certain grammatical principles - punctuation, sentence structure, spelling - but at the beginning of writing a story I don't allow myself to get hung up on these. There is this glorious feeling of freedom as the fingers bash around the keyboard transferring the thoughts in your head onto the screen. No rules, no boundaries, the world is your oyster. You can create people, situations, solutions without there being an exact linear path. My advice to people starting out is not to worry about what you're writing. Mistakes and paragraph structure can be rectified at the end - that's what spellchecker and cut and paste are for. Just let your creative juices flow and worry about the errors later. Trust me, you'll never get past the first sentence if you try to get it perfect.
This has been an epiphany for me. On this misty April morning I have realised something I don't think I knew before. Understanding maths has never come easy to me. My failure to grasp it has thrown more obstacles in my path than anything else in my life. Even as a mature adult with sackloads of qualifications under my belt I am restricted in my career choices because I don't have 'O' Maths. How frustrating!
I may just scrape together enough understanding of the basics to get a pass in my exam (I hope so) but none of this will have come easy to me. Blood, sweat and tears is an understatement! My brain aches every time I open my text book. But, this DOES NOT make me stupid. I always thought I was, and it didn't help having a maths teacher who reinforced this idea (Thanks a bunch, Mr Kane) What a waste. The simple fact is that my brain is wired differently. I wrote a book for goodness sake, of course I'm not stupid! And how dare anyone think I am...
I will continue to struggle my way through this open learning maths course (and there's another thing I've just realised. This is open learning! I'm doing this entirely on my own. No teacher , no support. I think that makes me a genius!) in my pursuit of becoming a teacher. It's the one thing that stands in my way and I am determined to jump this final hurdle because I know I will make a fabulous teacher. Who knows, maybe now I have accepted that we can't all be good at everything some of the pressure will lift and I'll find myself actually enjoying maths. Is that a pig flying past the window?...

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