A3Writer: Math
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Math

     From what they say, it's everywhere. It's what makes the world go round. It's also the bane of my existence as a teacher. Now, I have to say, I have nothing against math, personally. I'm a confirmed Excel junkie. My first instinct for a math problem is to reach for Excel, not a calculator. I perform complex math equations that physicists would be proud of. Well, once they get over shaking their heads and show me the shortcut to cut it in half.
      The thing is, math is only as good as what people put into it, and humanity is notorious for taking the easy route. Deep down, math is complex problem solving, analysis, language, and even philosophy. It's awesome. On the surface, it's an empty procedure and memorization. I remember my times table. I could rattle off answers of up to 12x12 in a heartbeat. It's memorization. Plug and chug. At that level, math doesn't take any thinking. And that's the problem. Math is treated as a means to find a solution. People look for the magic equation whereby they solve for X. However, life doesn't work as an equation.
      There are so many complexities in life that there's no magic equation, no silver bullet, no way to simply plug in values to make things work. I see it in teaching, and I see it in writing. No one has the formula for what makes a bestselling (or even just selling) novel. No one knows the perfect equation of story to humor to plot to characterization. It just doesn't work that way. Instead, it takes a lot of thought, time, and hard work. If there is an equation, that's it. Skimp on any of them, though, and it doesn't work.

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