I love numbers and Mathematics to the point of majoring in the subject in college. Although I might not go further with the subject, I will still retain my utmost respect and admiration for the subject.
But where did this love start from?
Isn’t it interesting how the brain choses to remember certain memories and not others? For some reason, I forget most movies I see just days after watching them. Then there are memories which seem to be engraved in stone. One such memory goes back to me in ninth grade standing in my Math teacher’s office. We had written some Math exam and I had performed poorly, so much so that I needed to be called into her office. Surrounded by other pupils, mainly girls, the teacher expressed her disappointment in me and how my performance was simply unacceptable. You should have seen me walk out of that office with my tail between my legs.
As embarrassing as that moment was, I always look back at that day to have been the beginning of my love and appreciation for Math. That teacher did not only embarrass me in front of girls (as a teenager, that is/was a big deal), but she also provided a remedy – another teacher who would take my hand and walk with me on the journey of discovering the beauty behind the numbers. Almost every day after class, that second teacher would sit with me and teach me Math. Although I did not get the highest possible grade in my grade 9 exams, a seed was sown.
Sowing a seed is and was only the start. I was fortunate enough that when I went to high school, in grade 10, I had teachers who went beyond teaching me Math to nurturing the seed that was sown earlier. There was one particular teacher that I secretly wanted to challenge and impress at the same time. Perhaps she knew this. Almost every time, I would hand in my work, the best response I got from her was “very good” with her signature below that line. I always longed for the say she would say “excellent work,” but it never came. I knew I was capable of getting that and more because I got it in other classes but not Mathematics. She always told me and my classmates to practice and practice more. In her words, “practice doesn’t make you perfect, it draws you closer to perfection.” Perhaps this is why I never got a perfect score from her despite trying as hard as I did. I was not perfect and would never be. In the end, her teaching and genuine desire to show the beauty of Math to me and others produced a student who fell in love with the subject despite falling short of getting a perfect score.
There have been many other teachers who taught me Mathematics and made me see the beauty in the subject. Without any doubt, I have been more than lucky to have been taught by teacher who not only taught me how to do Math but also why? Math is always fun when you know the why behind the how. Thank you to every teacher who digs deep in their knowledge to fill the curious wells of students like me. You are the shoulder we stand on. You rock!
The question still remains now the less – why do I love math? I love math for its certainty. Despite living in a world where relativity reigns supreme, Math remains Math and numbers never lie. I loved how perfectly it describes the imperfect world we live in. I love Math because it seemed to be the only thing I was good at. Biology was a foe and Chemistry a stranger to my brain cells – Math just made sense. I love Math because it gives me a universal language to communicate in. I love Math because it humbles me. More often than not, I come across people who detest Math with their whole being. Such people are always far much better at something else than I am or could ever get. There is so much that I cannot do. I love Math because it reminds me of the fact that I am blessed to be where I am. Not everyone had the chance to have the teachers I had. Teachers who took personal interest in my education and were not scared to scourge me in front of other people if it was meant for the greater good. Math reminds me to be thankful. I love Math because it is full of number and number are absolutely fascinating. Aren’t they?