My relationship with Math has been a Mr Darcy/Elizabeth

Bennett sort of affair. At first meeting, Math and I did

not get on. I considered the subject difficult and self

serving. It was the purview of the already in the know.

It was language you were born to, and if it didn’t

come quickly or easily to you, it must be due to a

deficit of character.

My dyslexia made sure that my first impression of Math

was particularly poor. Beyond writing “2”, “4”, and “5”

backward, I’d read mathematical equations in reverse

as well. Subtraction and division with its directional

dependency were my particular nemesis. Time and

coping techniques helped to reframe the dyslexia into

a hindrance, but not a barrier, but Mathematics itself

remained an aloof foe. In a Mr Darcy fancy, it did not

ask me to dance, and scorned my attempts at

deciphering its character. Math's good graces lost,

are lost forever, or so it seems.

But then, as grade school gave way to high school,

we began to see each other in different light. We realized

that we would always have friends in common, and that,

perhaps, we could casually co-habitate the same social

circles. Science required Math. A trip to the store

required Math. Geometry was my Pemberly, my first

inkling that Math could be a good companion. Geometry

was elegant, and so well turned out with logic I could grasp,

I could feel myself being drawn to an entity I had sworn to

scorn.

College was my chance to begin again, with a fresh

perspective. I began at the beginning, with pre-algebra,

and slowly made way through the introduction of

Mathematical social graces. This time, I could see Math,

not as aloof, but as complex and multidimensional.

I slowly discovered that aspects of Math could be seen

from different perspectives. If something appeared,

at first meeting, to be obtuse, I could find a different,

more amiable direction. It was my viewpoint that made

the entity seem forbidding; I had to find a perspective

that worked for me.

Which is how I find myself currently smitten with Math.

We are in a confirmed relationship of mutual

understanding. As my older daughter makes her way

through the introductions of high school Algebra, I am

continually impressed by the elegance of my old foe.

The new methods of teaching and working through

algebra help tremendously, but I think the willingness

to stop and look from a new direction plays an even

greater role. I am no longer intimidated by the subject.

I am not afraid to be wrong, and I am confident that it

will eventually make itself clear to me.

This is how I found myself as a math tutor. I understand

where my students are coming from. I have been there.

I know what it is to be outside of that magic society of

people who “Get It”. I remember the frustration and

the fear of not understanding. I know how deceitful

and proud those numbers can seem, and that often,

you just need a new way to think about them.