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Who disliked/was bad at Math in High School?

  1. Jan 7, 2016 #1
    Only to discover your love for math/physics later on in life? I'm 19 and have found a passion for Math/Physics after avoiding/dreading it in High School. I was too focused on being a sheeple at that time.
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  3. Jan 7, 2016 #2


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    I really didn't like mathematics in high school, found it a necessary evil for doing science, which I did like. Now I'm a mathematician.

    So, congratulations on loving something that you loathed before :smile:
  4. Jan 7, 2016 #3


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    When younger, I didn't necessarily dislike* math. But I certainly didn't "like" it either.

    Later during my electrical engineering studies** I sort of liked math, but didn't think too much of it. I thought it more of a means to an end.

    Now that I'm older, and hopefully wiser, I have a profound appreciation for mathematics. Sure, my mathematical skills may be limited, but my appreciation for the subject is exceptional***.

    *Although when I was in grade school I seriously struggled with some arithmetic. I could tell stories about long division that kept me up at night, and not in a good way.

    ** I should qualify that by saying my specialization was communication theory and digital signal processing -- most of which, as I found out the hard way, starts and ends in the realm of mathematics. Seriously, you could apply the exact same principles and techniques to sending smoke signals or drum beats just as well as signals from electronic devices. Why these classes are taught in the electrical engineering department instead of the mathematics department is, well, something up for discussion. Whatever the case, I'm pretty confident there's a swath of mathematics that electrical engineers enjoy (involving digital filtering, coding theory, control systems, noise theory, for example) that physicists and even mathematicians are usually not exposed to and maybe have never even heard of. Even though that is taught in the electrical engineering department, it is mathematics, from start to finish -- there's nothing technically "electrical" about it (at least not directly).

    ***But now that I'm older, I reminisce about pure mathematics, just for the sake of mathematics. Oh, the joy of a proof. Oh, to forget about any potential applications and bask in the simple joy of a mathematical proof. That is something good in life. Yes.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  5. Jan 7, 2016 #4


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    Now that we are talking about disliking turning into liking, I have to admit that I looked down upon engineering for a long time. Only when I discovered the beautiful mathematics hidden in applied fields like control theory, I discovered how wrong I had been. For me, engineering is becoming a source of inspiration.
  6. Jan 7, 2016 #5
    Ugh, the term sheeple is so lame.

    Anyway, in high school I didn't dislike mathematics but I also had no interest in learning them due to how bad my teachers were. Now that I am 30 in college I wish I had paid attention and passed my classes back then.
  7. Jan 8, 2016 #6
    I did reasonably well in Year 9 and 10 Maths. At Year 11 I was put in a class where we learned a bit slower than the rest, and I obtained good results to be put in one of the top classes in Year 12. But Year 12 I found quite hard, so in Year 13 I opted for Internal Statistics (that is, all internal assessments, mainly unit standards, and no end of year exam).
  8. Jan 8, 2016 #7
    Thank you for the opportunity to wax soliloquy on the USA science (STEM) education system. Here's the problem as far as I can see it. The numbnuts administrators have a knee-jerk reaction that some accomplished mathematician, say, is going to be a good math teacher. That's a very naive assumption. I personally would say that the last person I would want teaching me math or physics is an "expert" in the field. Why? Because their interests are not in doing the hard work it takes to instruct neophytes to learn a novel subject, they want to get on with their personal research and impress their peers. I don't wan't none of that narcissism. Give me a blue collar teacher at a community college that has an actual interest in his student learning a subject.

    Here's the three archetypal forms of scholarly instruction you're likely to encounter in life (according to DiracPool's manifesto):

    1) Description--This is the basest form of instruction. For example, you say that when your fingers slip, the ball you were holding falls from your hand and hits the floor.

    2) Explanation--Here you say that the reason that the ball falls is that there is this thing called the force of gravity that draws the ball toward the ground. The equation that describes this process is such and such.

    3) Teaching--This entails actually taking an interest in who the students are and how each of them individually have the capacity to learn the subject material. This isn't meant to be a politically correct statement, it's just saying that learning, especially STEM, subjects is not a one size fits all prospect. What I've learned over many years is that teaching a difficult subject is a difficult and serious task. It's not to be treated with a cavalier attitude. But it is. Why? Because administrators just want to dot their i's and cross their t's and get their monthly salaries and not rock the boat. How do they accomplish this? Well, of course, you hire the new hotshot postdoc from the local big university, or better yet, some older mummy throwback that somehow unfortunately for you ended up circulating into your pond. Then, as an administrator, you're safe, right? But guess who loses? The students. Because, as I stated above, the last guy you want teaching you any subject, especially math or physics, is some hotshot postdoc that thinks he's going somewhere. What you really want is a guy (or gal) who has a degree or experience in "education." Someone who has experience in and interest in "teaching" someone the subject, rather than using you (the student) as a steeping stone to their personal goals without giving a crap whether you learn anything or not.

    If you're snowballed by the snow the administrators throw at you you'll think I'm full of crap and paranoid. If you've engaged in some sober contemplation on the issue, you'll likely agree with me.
  9. Jan 8, 2016 #8


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    Since when is wishing to focus on research a sign of narcissism? I don't agree. Is a baker that loves to bake breads but dislikes training apprentices also a narcissist? I don't think so.
    Some people like to teach, others prefer research, and then there are those who like (and are actually good at) both. At the university level, I think it is actually essential to integrate the two.

    What I don't like is pretense. One should be honest about one's preferences. In particular, one shouldn't pretend to love education when it is in fact the opposite.
  10. Jan 8, 2016 #9
    I actually have the opposite sentiment, I think we should separate the two. As far as Boogey's comment on his bad math teachers, check out this clip of one of my hero's, Jacob Bronowski. Watch it from the beginning

  11. Jan 9, 2016 #10
    I never had been persistent to class studies, and I think I had too many gaps though I did quite well in exams. Before my univ. admission exam I joined PF, still lazy, but still got some love for science. And now exam over, and feels like the love is gone! That's how it is for me
  12. Jan 9, 2016 #11


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    Unlike the title of this thread, I liked math all through grade school, even going so far as trying to read an algebra book when I was in the third or fourth grade. (I didn't get what they were doing with exponents.)

    "Math" (really arithmetic) up through the eighth grade was pretty boring, but I really enjoyed algebra in the ninth grade. I took math classes through the rest of high school (grade 12), including Geometry in grade 10, Alg./Trig in grade 11, and Calculus in grade 12 as a senior. It was pretty easy for me, to the consternation of some of my fellow students, and I didn't work very hard at it in high school. Of course, college math courses were much harder, and my lackadaisical attitude didn't do my grades any good.

    Even so, I still wound up taking math courses through most of my college years, eventually deciding the major in math, and getting a BA and MS in mathematics.
  13. Jan 10, 2016 #12
    In high school I had the problem that math courses at my level were too easy so I was pushed into harder courses, but the courses that weren't too easy were suddenly too difficult. I actually ended up feeling like I was naturally bad at math, it didn't sink in until college that the fact that I was 2 years ahead in math was a sign that I was good at it, and I came to enjoy it very quickly once I had some better instruction.
  14. Jan 11, 2016 #13
    I wasn't interested. I was however very good at it. I think of this whenever I hear someone say, "They is no such as thing as talent. There is only hard work." Hah! I did as little work as possible.
  15. Jan 13, 2016 #14
    I am into applied math not pure math. I really disliked symbolic computation and only fell for natural one. But time's probably changed my mind. Without a bit knowledge of the former, I would have never been able to measure and maintain the performance of or obtain benefits from complex systems. :bow:
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