isthmus: (Default)
isthmus ([personal profile] isthmus) wrote2011-10-11 11:11 am

(no subject)

If you ever have a spare half hour or something, I recommend you read this: www.maa.org/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf

This entry is partly brought on by Jeny's post here under hobbies/interests: (the part of interest below)
    Saving the world! one stream restoration project at a time (just kidding, not now, currently it’s my dream job). One day I would like to teach dynamics or mechanics of materials without it being this huge snoozefest — I’ll make the kids read some real life application literature requirement and they’ll hate me for it! but the kids who hate aren’t the ones in need. I want to breed a ton of young engineers, those who are inspired to take a problem head on — because they’re just so fucking nice — and fix it. I want them to make house calls like doctors did back in the day, tell a family what’s wrong with their bridge or roof, what they can do to salvage the ruins while saving the most money possible. I want them to marvel at a river full of salmon. I want them to take pictures of mountains and trees and think that this is the greatest beauty the world has to offer (besides love, naturally, and having babies). I want them to be stewards of the earth and of humanity. I’m trying to streamline my interests to that.
I want to be able to change the world, you know! Well Jeny does, and I completely support her, especially in regards to the environment.

I used to feel like that -- actually I still do, but for maths. I'm not a mathematician, a mathemagician, but I really do love maths at times. You know that moment when you've been working on a single problem for like twenty minutes or more, and you suddenly get it? Or you're doing a maths paper, one that's like a billion others you've done, but it suddenly all makes sense, you can do it all without asking someone or referring to other formulae or just keep powering through without hesitating on any question, you just know it? Or you seriously don't get this question and you try everything and anything and suddenly, you get the answer? That single moment of euphoria when everything feels right in the universe -- that's why I love maths. And I want people -- kids, kids learning maths! -- to feel that.

I briefly entertained the thought of becoming a maths teacher but a) I'm not a good enough at maths, b) I don't have the ~passion~ or ~drive~ to be able to deal with it day in, day out, and c) I would make a TERRIBLE teacher. I would hate to be a teacher because it's, like, such a big responsibility! You're raising the next generation and teaching them one of the most vital subjects out there! Maths is a universal language! Maths is beautiful.

When I hear that someone hates maths, it makes me so fucking sad. Maths is so beautiful, it's like, so perfect! It's all rounded, smoothed edges, thousands of years of philosophy and research and like -- what other kind of subject can you learn that would be universal? You learn history -- and it's only applicable to your region. You learn a language -- English, even, but it's not like you can go to the middle of Africa and everyone can understand you. You go to Sri Lanka and the maths will be the same. You go to the USA, they spell maths as 'math' and yet it's still the exact same shit!

Maths is a manmade construct and everything, but it's like, it was made to be discovered. You work your way through problems and you learn stuff in school -- idk. I don't know if it was because I had wonderful teachers that I can appreciate maths so much (ugh my year 12 maths teacher was horrible, but I had a tutor and he was so sweet and like grandfatherly cute and he made things make sense! all my other teachers throughout high school for maths could explain things and were awesome, I miss them) or if it's just because it's maths. Like, how can you not appreciate it? Maths having one answer and all -- isn't that part of its beauty? You keep working towards this ideal, to this end, and you know it's there! Like writing a story or an essay -- there isn't a definite end. You can still write a sequel, or take another character's perspective, or keep editing it until you're satisfied -- but that isn't the end! Which might be its appeal, but with maths, you get to the answer, and that's it. You can't go any further. You know where you stand.

Just people not liking maths makes me sad :( I understand frustration and not getting an answer, but when someone teaches you how to do it, and you have that 'ohhhhhh' moment -- where else do you feel that? And when you do a problem exactly like the one you just fucked up and yet you get it right, that feeling of accomplishment -- when else can you feel those things just by, you know, working it out on paper! There's nothing that rivals that on such a simple level! You know, I want people to appreciate maths! Maths is such an art. Maths is so captivating. Immersing yourself in problems for like an hour or two! Just working through them! God, I love maths so much this is ridiculous.

I was thinking of taking elective units in maths, but that would also require me to take a bridging course over summer, since I didn't take maths extension 2 (which is the highest level of maths you can take at high school, and I REGRET NOT TAKING IT SO MUCH) and idk if I can be bothered! And I've already planned to take elective units in IT :( But I really really really want to learn maths again, since I don't have confidence to teach it.

[identity profile] starlitbright.livejournal.com 2011-10-11 08:11 am (UTC)(link)
I'M SORRY BUT "MATH" DOESN'T SOUND COMPLETE :( IT NEEDS THE "SSSSSSSSSSS"

:3 :3 :3 then I like your school! My school was nerdy too, dw :3