Donegal mammy Maria Rushe humorously reveals how helping with her daughter's math homework makes her feel as useful as a chocolate teapot.
Once upon a time, in a damp and draughty classroom, Mammy here remembers putting a question to the loveliful and unfortunate lady charged with the torture of teaching her Mathematicalisms.
“Why and Where on the Great Jebus’s flat Earth, will I ever need to know this Sin, Cos and Tan crap like?” I asked poor Miss Jacinta.
Because Mammy knew that unless she wanted to train as a fecking astronaut, or be the woman who waved the fricken Ping Pong bats at landing aeroplanes, “Sin, Cos and Tan” would only be at best the name of a band she’d never listen to and at worst, a cocktail she’d never order.
And Miss Jacinta, in her genuine loveliness, somehow managed to keep her shit together with the mathematically challenged Mammy. ?
… even on the day when I answered get gentle “What is a+b?” with “Ab” – Duh.
(The difference in a literary and mathematagical brain I guess?)?
Miss Jacinta either had the patience of a saint, gin in her flask, or she felt absolute PITY for the Half-wit in front of her for those five long years.
Don’t get me wrong now, I could and can (usually) do the basics.
(Like figuring out what 27.3% off a pair of shoes will save me in 0.3 seconds? No problem.)
And for some reason, I “GOT” triangle angles which have come in handy for, well… walking around corners and loading chilli on my nachos.
And as for the theorems? I learned those bad boys like bad poems and yet I never understood a single fecking digit. Not even 1…(boom…)??
I have indeed never used “Sin, cos or tan” in the sense of the words she taught. Obviously, I have never sinned, being the saintly legendary Ladybelle that I am… I use “cos” only to describe the foot that goes into those discounted shoes, and my tan is where it should be. In the bottle.
So imagine my annoyance, when 20 years after waving at the lovely Miss Jacinta as I left her classroom for the last time, I suddenly find my Mathematilda being challenged again…
Because my 7 year old needs help with her fricking HOMEWORK!??
I am however, quite contented and optimistic about the future of person-kind, because let me tell you, by the time our 7 year olds are in 5th class, they will have the mathematical intelligence to decipher NASA’s most secretful codes and be bringing fecking mermaids into existence with their imagination, a calculator and a spatula, just for fun.
This was one of Mini-Me’s homeowrk questions this week.???
Of course, the child (eventually) saw logical mathe-magical patterns and formulae. (which of course have some pedagogical purpose known only to math whizzes!)
Mammy here, I wondered why the tiger had pink blocks on her back.
I saw a KNACKERED Mammy Tiger, with 57 tabs open on her brain, only a part of her former self, shellshocked and wavering under the weight of a big pile of blocks fecked on top of her.
I wanted to write a short story explaining how the blocks might be metaphoric of the invisible pressures a Mum has to deal with in order to NOT LOOK LIKE A BLOODY NUMPTY in front of her child because of homework that is clever-er than Mammy, or any other adult born before project Math…
So much for singing “Toodalloooooo Jacinta” and smugly thinking I’d never have to feel stupid because of Maths again.
I got THAT wrong too.
Somethings never change eh?
Obviously, of course, I am COMPLETELY aware of the importance of, and brilliance of, the maths programmes in schools… and I would never speak my annoyance in front of my girls… but you are not my girls and so yes, I shall vent my frustration that despite many years in third level education, letters after my name and 18 odd years as a teacher, 1st class maths makes me feel as useful as a chocolate teapot. #FML