The Wrath of Math

Math has been for as long as I can remember a source of anxiety for me. As a child I was a pretty average learner when it came to mathematics up until I fell behind.  I have always felt like when it comes to numbers my mind needs a little more time than most to reach that “aha! I get it” moment. I started to do worse and worse on my homework and quizzes and i realized that the class kept moving forward and I was somehow stuck. Then I think a catalyst for me was that I had this really awful math teacher who would call on students at random to come up to the board and solve the equations in front of the class. I remember math class being torture. Sitting in the back trying to hide, making myself sick inside with worry that he was going to call on me. Because he would call on me from time to time and I would stand in front of the class staring at that equation and feeling panicked and blank and stupid. I felt like everyone knew I was stupid. I grew to hate math.I equated math with failure. In fact I hated math so much that after high school I successfully avoided it up until rather recently.  My academic self concept when it came to math was very negative and my motivation was low. I have been able to make some great improvements in recent years and I think two things have helped me improve my outlook.  One would be that I am very motivated to get my degree in psychology. I really feel strongly that it is what I want to do with my life and I am determined to succeed and have managed to pass several math classes :)! The second would be that I have changed the way I look at the world and at myself. My locus of control has changed. I no longer think that math happens to me and when it does i fail. I now think that when math happens to me I know I have to try a little harder than some of my peers but that I am capable and that when I get a concept I really get it and retain it and so I take pride in that. I think its what our book refers to as the Self- Determination theory or the degree to which an individual sees themselves as having a choice in actions and behaviors with-ought feeling pressured to behave in a particular manner.  I think that feeling of watching everyone get something I couldn’t really bothered me as a child and I gave up after a while. I was pressured to feel like something was wrong with me and I accepted that. But adult me learned that I might have a more challenging time with numbers but that I also have a knack for not forgetting things once I learn them and so maybe I take longer but I keep my knowledge and thats a valuable skill.  I now know I can do math and Im motivated.

Side note I still think that teacher was a jerk for doing that to his students.

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