Fill in Those Blanks America!

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria d...
Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria dell’ Accademia, Venice (1485-90) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Math Anxiety by Deb Russell at

Where Does Math Anxiety Come From?

“Usually math anxiety stems from unpleasant experiences in mathematics. Typically math phobics have had math presented in such a fashion that it led to limited understanding. Unfortunately, math anxiety is often due to poor teaching and poor experiences in math which typically leads to math anxiety. Many of the students I’ve encountered with math anxiety have demonstrated an over reliance on procedures in math as opposed to actually understanding the math.”


The above statement seems to have been written just for me. I don’t do math.

 How is it there are a multitude of ways to get kids to read but there seems no one has explored diverse methods to bring kids into the understanding of math?

I have always accepted an “either /or” philosophy. Either one is creative or they can do math. Those who explore the “word world” draw on a different part of the brain from “number” people.

That thinking cannot be correct. People are capable of overcoming strokes, they must be capable of understanding math and the Arts. Leonardo Da Vinci serves as the perfect example of the human ability for excellence in both areas.

Our nation’s children are failing to keep up with students all over the world. The lack of math “understanding” seems to be the most prominent reason.

I wanted very badly to become a scientist, in my early days, and gave up on that dream due to an egregious lack of math ability. Now in adulthood, I can call it a phobia. My mind draws a blank when numbers come into play. Funny thing, I excelled in geometry. It was a visually based subject with more “memorized procedures” involved. Seems to make the case about math anxiety even stronger, doesn’t it?

I’d love to offer more math related activities to my granddaughter but not knowing the “stepping stones” toward understanding math myself, makes me a poor teacher. I believe I will research new methods. Any suggestions from others will be gratefully accepted. Now I understand how frustrated parents/grandparents, who speak a language other than English, must feel when asked about English composition by their kids.

You know? With good material, I may just start over and learn along with Katherine. Life’s too short to accept any “blanks”. 🙂

The Worst Teacher I Ever Had

I don’t do numbers.

“Ugh…I hate math…numbers are so boring…so are Math teachers.”

My sophomore year in High School solidified this feeling for me.

He sat on the front of his desk and assigned Algebra equations to solve.

That’s it.

He never smiled. No humorous numeric riddles. He spoke in a whisper, usually as he was turned away from us and adding a new equation to the blackboard. I might have strained to hear if I thought it would help.

I was a natural at many things but numbers just were too concrete to interest me. Math was my most dreaded subject and Mr. Kelly was the example of everything a teacher should NOT aspire to.

To convince you of his ineptness, here is a SHORT discussion we had.

Teacher: ” Do problems number 4 and 5.”

Me: “Mr. Kelly, I don’t think we’ve covered that process yet… Could you refresh us?”

Teacher:”If you don’t know how to do that, by now, I’m certainly not going to tell you.”

What the heck?

(Sorry to all interesting Math teachers. That guy gave you a really bad name.)

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