While I clearly recall my early writing career at school, I don’t remember much about learning math. In the junior grades, that is. In high school I enjoyed it and elected to study all of the available subjects, including trigonometry. I particularly liked geometry and graphing functions. I suppose the visual rendering of mathematical concepts held the appeal. I even went so far as to create a Christmas card for the math teacher. It was a series of equations that when plotted on a graph would reveal a Christmas tree, complete with ornaments and presents underneath.
Which is astounding to consider. Ten years earlier in Grade 2, the teacher asked “How many inches in a foot?” I placed my ruler on the floor beside my shoe to measure the answer.
After I graduated high school, I went straight to work for the telephone company, and didn’t need any special math skills beyond the basics. You know, counting the weeks until the next vacation or adding the hours on a time-sheet. By the time I worked as a drafting technician in the engineering department, computers performed all the heavy lifting. Sure, I needed to recognize a misplaced decimal point when I saw one, or convert imperial lengths to metric. However, the days of sine curves and the Cartesian coordinate system were long gone.
Is it any wonder, then, that when I started this technology program two years ago, it felt like I was back in grade 2, staring at my feet for the answers? No matter how I tried, I could not access the rusted-shut math department in my brain. When I read the text, it looked Greek to me.
Practice makes … well, if not perfect, at least it makes for a good workout. There is plenty of opportunity to exercise the math muscles in this program. Besides the four Mathematics courses, the Mine Design and Economics modules required essay work and applied math. Lots of applied math. Tons of it. Cubic tons, even.
I got through it.
When I reviewed the remaining course work, I heaved a sigh of relief. Very little math to worry about.
- Health and Safety
- Law and Ethics
- Safety and Loss Control
Of the bunch, only Surveying will have any heavy-duty math work. Excellent! The last two semesters will be so much easier.
Or so I thought.
Yesterday I logged on to the online tutorial for Safety and Loss Control, just to say howdy to the prof and introduce myself to my classmates. This is what I saw on the screen:
“There’s math?!” I typed.
“Oh, hi, Maggie” said the prof. “As you know, tutorials are non-mandatory and an opportunity for students to ask questions about this or any other course. I’m helping Jason with a question for Underground Mining.”
I was just about to type “Phew!” when he continued, “But just for you, I’ll make sure to include some weighted average questions in future modules.
“No, no! Don’t go to any trouble!”
“No trouble at all.”
Me and my big mouth.
*** *** ***
In response to the weekly writing challenge on
Writing Essential Group WEThur: Sept 11, 2014
Come along and join in the fun!
Categories: Continuing Education