High school math and I went together about as well as sleep and doomscrolling on Twitter. It always felt like an uphill climb… in the snow. Wearing heels. Drunk. Hindsight is 2020, which may or may not be a prime number, I truly don’t have a clue. If I could go back and tell my high school math teachers a thing or two, this is what I’d say.
1. “I do have a calculator in my pocket, bubs!”
We all do. Siiiick.
2. “Pi Day was the best day.”
You know how I remember that Pi is 3.14 (and a whole slew of other wacky numbers)? Because you gave us a pizza party to learn it! Hot melty cheese, warm tomato sauce and a crispy crust equal memories. Now don’t ask me what Pi does, because that is a full-mouthed shrug.
3. “I wish you’d taught me to balance a checkbook.”
Or how to budget for home ownership. Or how on earth the stock market works (the other day I asked my brother if I could pay for stocks with Venmo). Someone said the word “PEMDAS” once and somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind a little voice yelled “Order of Operations!” but I have no clue what “interest rate” means. Please teach practical math to your Gen Z-ers (with pizza parties they’ll TikTok, of course!).
4. “Numerology IS Math.”
Remember when I wrote my big “Precalculus Mathematics Concept” report about Numerology, going so far as drawing up birth charts for every member of the class? And remember when you, Mr. Brickley, gently offered I drop the class and perhaps take journalism instead? Well, that was such a your birth-number 4 (responsible) thing to say… but truthfully, you were right. And I write! Plus (math reference!) Numerology has served me waaaay more than PreCalc ever could (because I’m a birth number 3 (artsy)!).
4. “I know you tried.”
You all worked hard to make concepts like “fractals,” “variables,” and “binomial coefficients” exciting and impassioned. It’s not your fault if these words went over my head like the adult voice in Charlie Brown. Some kids are mathies and some kids are daydreaming about “Fiddler on the Roof” rehearsals after school. Thank you for trying to educate and balance all those complex dynamics… ooooh hey! That’s a math term! I guess some things stuck after all.
Now excuse me while I go order a pizza. Just don’t ask me to divide it equally.