Professor Kate Poirier | D772 | Spring 2023

Assignment: Are you bad at math? Really???

Comment due on the OpenLab Monday, February 13

“I’m bad at math.”

Everyone on earth, probably


“I’m bad at math.” This is something I’ve heard from a number of students over the years. It’s devastating to me to hear anyone say this about themselves… let alone my own students… in the middle of actually solving a math problem.

Here’s a big secret: I’ve said this about myself. I have a Ph.D. in math. I write math research papers and get invited to give fancy math research presentations. I’ve taught hundreds (maybe thousands?) of students math in my career. And I have said this about myself tons of times over the years.

Here’s another (not-so-big) secret: I’m bad at pushups. I don’t have a Ph.D. in pushups! I can barely do one pushup! I’m, like, definitely, objectively really really bad at pushups! But it doesn’t make me feel bad when I can’t do a pushup. I really don’t care. So what’s different about math?

There is something unique about math: it can make all of us feel bad about ourselves sometimes. The wife of my good friend (who got his Ph.D. in math the same week I got mine) says this: “You mathematicians… if you do understand something, you think it’s because it’s obvious and easy… if you don’t understand something, you think it’s because it’s impossible and you’re too dumb. When do you ever get to feel good about yourselves?” Doing math can be very humbling. (If you’ve never been challenged doing math, let me know and I’ll find a challenge for you.)

There are lots of intersecting reasons that so many people think they’re bad at math, even when they’re not…especially when they’re not. For example, do this right now: do a Google image search for “mathematician.” Scroll until you see someone who looks like you. Can you find anyone? I haven’t seen all of your faces, but I’m willing to bet none of you look like this bro:

Portrait of an old fashioned white guy in a big white wig


Choose one of the following prompts. Then write a response of about 5 sentences and drop it in the comments below.

  1. Read an article on “math anxiety” (for example this one). Math anxiety is a real thing and there have been tons of articles written on it! Summarize the article. What parts of it resonated the most with you? What is a situation during which you remember experiencing math anxiety in your life? Were you able to overcome it? How? Have your feelings about math changed as you’ve gotten older?
  2. Go back to the results of your Google image search for “mathematician.” Find a picture of a mathematician who looks like you. What is their name? Research this person’s biography and summarize it for us. What did you find most interesting about their life? What is a question you would ask this person about their life if you could?
  3. Okay, let’s get personal! Have you ever thought, “I’m bad at math,” yourself? Have you ever said it out loud? How often does this thought come into your head? In what circumstances? What do you do when it happens? Have any of your friends or classmates ever said this about themselves to you? What would you tell your friend if they said “I’m bad at math” to you? What do you think makes people think they’re bad at math? What do you do to challenge these thoughts? How can we support people when they feel like this? (Bonus: respond to someone else’s comment on this prompt; be nice.)

If your response is too long for a comment or if you want to include pictures (especially for prompt #2), feel free to submit your own new post. Use the category Bad at math and copy the link into the comments below.

You will earn participation credit for your comment.

Back to pushups

I’ve never been one to enjoy working out. I run a lot but I’m not into strength training, even though it would help my running. Every so often I try to start a strength training routine, but I rarely stick with it… so I still can’t do a real pushup! I’ve just started again, so we’ll see how long I keep it up this time!

So here is one more question for you: why do you think am I talking so much to you about pushups in a math class???

Animated gif of Homer Simpson doing one-arm pushups in the kitchen with Maggie on his back, grunting and saying "Strength! Agility!"


  1. Javier Garcia

    1- (Summarization of the article)

    Math ability is not just determined by genetics but also by hard work, preparation, and self-confidence. Research shows that students with a belief that intelligence can be changed through effort do better in school. The belief in inborn math ability contributes to the gender gap in mathematics. Psychologists found that convincing students they could make themselves smarter through hard work led to better grades and improved self-esteem. Improving IQ is possible with hard work. Math skills are important for getting good jobs, and America’s belief in inborn ability is particularly entrenched in math. By overcoming the belief in inborn math ability, people can believe they can learn anything if they work hard enough. The part that resonated the most with me was about how high school boys “Dweck reported that some of her tough junior high school boys were reduced to tears by the news that their intelligence was substantially under their control.”- The Myth of “I am bad at math’. I believe that I was crushed to hear that there was no hope, and it was the weakest point I had ever been in my childhood life. I never overcame math anxiety, and no matter what, felt I could never be good. What I did to understand it and cope with the situation was to at least pass it and not try to go beyond. The idea of getting something impossible like an A was out the window, so why not settle with your mental space first and just pass. From there, that idea got me a B, and I slowly improved. With age, I started putting responsibility in the right places.


    Jaime Escalante was someone I look up to and a legend. A mathematician that turned him into a movie and what he did to help my people, the Hispanic community, succeed in life. In 1982, his largest class of students took and passed an advanced placement test in Calculus. The testing company invalidated some of the student’s test scores because it believed that the students had cheated. But it was ignorance and racism that led them to believe that they cheated. That group retook the test to find out they did better than the first time. Ever since 1982, year after year, more students that came out of his class passed the test, breaking news and records within the USA. The question I would if there was a chance if he could teach other professors how to teach would he do it if they paid him, of course?

    3- Throughout my many years of college, I heard this many times, and because I am pretty sure I am older than many in this class, I always tell them to never be afraid to ask. No question is dumb, and you are paying for services that you all deserve to pass and understand. I also do my best to give them the best advice in order to confront those fears. Some of them include making appointments with the professor in order to get help with homework or a future test. Meet with tutors and never think that someone is judging you. I help people because we are all in the same boat, and I know if I do help, I might get help back.

  2. Ameer Shadick

    1- This is the article I chose:

    Math Anxiety is very common through a childs life growing up, mostly starting around they start to learn about algebra. Math anxiety makes most kids nervous, leading them to fail test and other forms of math examinations. This then leads to kids say that they are “bad at math” or people that feel like math is “to much work”, creating more math anxiety as they get older. Researchers think that a lot of people struggle with math due to their working memory, this is a part of the brain that essentially works with processing multiple things at one time. But there are some ways that students can help with math anxiety such as writing down how they feel towards the subject, and studying the subject for little amounts per day. Within this article I think the part that resonated with me the most is the testing anxiety, when I was younger I dislike math exams and anytime I didn’t do good, I always said its because I am just not good at math. This thought process wasn’t a good way to get better at math. When I was a freshman in high school I wasn’t bad at math but I just didn’t want to apply myself, always staying with my friends say “math wasn’t for us” but one of the 10th-12th grade math teachers saw me and saw the potential I had. She was one of the best teachers I ever had and made me fall in love with math, we would always debate over questions in class and I would even start to correct her (but now looking back she probably did it on purpose) but she really had a huge impact on my life and I couldn’t be more grateful. Nowadays I love doing math, I love the challenge of math and find doing it very fun (I know most of you prolly cringe when I say that).

  3. Danny Mizhquiri

    The situation of having to hear the thoughts of “I`m bad at math” happened around when I enter college and began doing calculus two. The situation was so intense because of how fast I had to deal with leading the lesson in each class day, it`s making me want to scream! But Instead, I oppressed only making me cry heavily. Over time, the thought become stronger and stronger when I don`t understand a question and was forced to do it on my own! I started to look for any questions similar to my homework and I can use it as an example of how can I solve it or I can just not do the question and face the punishment. Also, as far as I remember, there was no friend or classmate ever told this me. Also, to be honest, If they told me “I’m bad at math”, we could have a connection by creating a group and solving the homework and studying together! The biggest problem that people think they`re bad at math is that we became lost in the direction that we are supposed to go when solving a question. We need support and we should be encouraged to share our concerns and thoughts with others so we can challenge these thoughts. And we can support each other by sharing the weakness that we face and converting them into our strengths!

    • Danny Mizhquiri

      Note: This is prompt #3 (Okay, let’s get personal)

  4. Javier Bonilla

    1- The chosen article:

    Math anxiety consists of feeling symptoms of sweating hands or racing heart when dealing with math problems, and the majority of people blamed themselves because they are “bad at math”. I felt math anxiety when I was a child because I didn’t know how numbers works and how the numbers could be related to common things. I think is very common for children to feel anxiety when someone is new or never understands how a thing works and adults have an expectation that it is easy to understand which is not true because everyone has a different speed of learning.

  5. JTruong27

    Prompt 3: While I personally haven’t thought that I was necessarily bad at math but rather the application of it in other subjects. An example would be Physics for instance, while the math itself wasn’t exactly hard, I had often gotten confused on the way to apply it. I think a lot of people think they’re bad at math because when they were younger they often had gotten other types of math easily but as they learned more complex forms of math they felt inadequate for not being able to get it right off the start. If I were in there place, I’d try to say is that it’s okay to not get something at first and that everyone starts somewhere. I would try to help them solve it but in a way they could learn from it.

    • Danny Mizhquiri

      I understand the situation, individuals had a struggle in finding the right direction in solving in particular complex math. But I am happy that there`s people out there who are willing to help one another. And I hope that it would be possible that we can work together to overcame the difficulty in math.

  6. kevin

    1- This is the article I chose. –

    Math anxiety is common and because of that it was studied for seven decades. This problem effects everyone, even the ones who are good at math. Math anxiety is defined as ” a feeling of tension and anxiety that interferes with manipulation of numbers and solving of mathematical problems in ordinary life and academic situation.” Math anxiety is caused by a lot of testing and how fast math is. Its a subject where students need to learn each topic pretty fast and it takes a while. Some students learn it fast and others take a while. This trigger the math anxiety in students. Ways teachers can help is eliminating time exams and explain how math will be used in the real life. way parents can help is tell the student its ok for it to be hard. Show them learn from their mistake and make it right the next time. The part that resonate with me is how fast math is. In middle school I did not like reading text book or reading articles on how to solve stuff. I learned in high school, I like hands on learning where my teachers can show us a sample problem and go step by step how to do it. This helped me learn the math faster because I saw how its done and learned the steps. The part about others being faster trigger my math anxiety is true. I was in advance math in high school and there was a lot of kids who can solve theses math problems faster then me. This caused me to feel like I cannot learn this, how I am dumb, and just not good at math. But when I did learn it the feeling went away. I learned how to do the problems by going to office hours and asking question when I was confused. I feel like this today still because most of my classes are math base and I always feel left behind. but I try my hardest to stay on top and push myself to keep up with everyone else. I started to love math when I realized its not hard, just take times to learn. Math is something I can enjoy doing. I rather do math then right a 8 page essay. I just need to remind myself, its ok to be slower then everyone else.

    • Javier Garcia

      I do agree that fast math learning doesn’t take in the time we all need to use it properly in the future. I have that issue, but glad that in other classes I take within that semester I have been lucky enough to relate and use some or very little work from each other. But not everyone is lucky and has this. But I do feel behind many times and have to do my own study at home. In the end, remember that you are in school paying services to help you gain something. See it that way, and you will start ignoring others what they think about you and how you are important and not others.

  7. Rubab Tariq

    if said this sentence so many times whenever I get stuck somewhere while solving any math problem. I get frustrated so easily when I’m not able to solve problems and I feel why I took math. After someone help when I solve that problem then I think it was such a little problem if I focus more I was able to solve it also. People who said loud they are bad in math I feel the only reason they feel like that is that they don’t have an interest in math.

  8. John Villalona

    3:Okay, let’s get personal! Have you ever thought, “I’m bad at math,” yourself?

    I haven’t always thought I was bad in math because from third grade to about 9th grade it was my strongest subject in school. I love math so much that was a 4th grader I was craving to learn higher level math because I sometimes felt 4th grader math was easy and sometimes bothering . Lucky my teacher said to me ok I would teacher something you learn in 2 grades from now. And that how for the first time I learned a bit of algebra before moving to the fifth grade. It wasn’t up to I got to high school I begin to struggle in math and maybe began to ask myself I am really good as thought I was. So, this then the doubt and the belief that “I am bad at math “ and there is not I can do except try my best to get good grades while trying to learn the math I need to understand for the regents but try to learn math techniques I can use for the future. since I always knew I can  never run away from math because it everywhere in our world. So then and even now when that thought comes into mind I try to not to think about to much and try to learn and. Practice the math that is being taught to me . Because as a computer engineering and technology student I have to use and learn a lot of math . Or how some math techniques or method can be applied to engineering. For example, I took a class in OP Amps and for some of the class we used logarithms to find output of the amplifier . I know how to use logs and its rules but although my professor did a review of logarithms, I know in back my head I am bad at math, and can I still not mess up getting my answer on my own using the previous things I have learn about logarithm in my career as a student. To short and to the point I surprised myself, but it also thought me something is that each circumstance makes confident or doubt my ability to do math no matter if I had a passion for as a child and early and middle of my adolescences. Although when I think about it some of the doubt comes when see friends or classmates tell how hey we are in the same boat, and I am bad at math as well. No lie at times it be comforting but at same time confuses me because I would them to me it seemed you are good at math  because you know to  solve or do x method extremely well  and you aceing everything . That’s what I usually tell a classmate when they feel down and think they are bad at math. But something I learned in my first semester in college is that sharing your own struggles with our classmates when taking the same course  don’t only bring a sense of relief because to realize you not alone, but you can encourage one another and those are some the things I try to do to motivate myself and my classmates. Because your story can bless or change another person’s life. Finally although I think I am bad at math I try my best to ask questions when I don’t something in a math course or try to get help from tutoring or going to office because no lie the one college made extremely clear to me is what type of student I am and what I can do to make I am just getting back in a class but end of the semester feel I actually learn about something new or more about a topic I already have learned about. Because as my dad  has always told  me is that  “John every day you learn something new.”

  9. Atta Tariq

    In this article, the mom is a senior researcher and reports data for the national education news site. She is helping her child with a math problem and when she was unable to solve it, her child asked, “Are you struggling?” She said, I wasn’t really anxious before my sons question but after he said that, I got anxious and started doubting myself over the fact that I can’t solve an elementary level problem. I had a similar situation when I was 14 years old and I had a math test. My dad had said to me, “I want you to perform good in that.” Before my dad had disclosed his expectations of me doing great on my exam, I was really calm and studying at my own pace. However, after I heard his words, I knew I had to work even harder and focus even more to obtain the grades he wanted me to get. I studied the whole day, doing all the sample maths problems. I didn’t even go out to play with my friends because scoring the best grade on this exam was my top priority. Next day went to school, and I took exam. I came home and my mom asked me how exam went. I wondered how she knew about it, because I had only told my dad. I questioned her and my mom told me, she found me in kitchen last night with my notebook and pen in my hand and she tried talking to me but I kept repeating formulas to myself. She realized I was sleep walking and I was so concerned about my math test that I even took my notebook and pen around with me.

  10. benyusufov

    I choose prompt 2

    when it comes to math I don’t think I’m bad at math but when it comes to taking the test its pretty much wraps for me, my mind goes blank, and have no idea what I’m looking at. I always liked math until they started putting the alphabet into it once we got x and y and z, I knew I wouldn’t be the best at math but somehow I ended up in calculus 2 already so I’d say I’m doing pretty good, and that I’m not wrong in math. I chose George cantor not because he looks like me but because he has a nice beard.

  11. Jocelyn Nacimba

    Prompt 3:

    When I was in elementary school, I disliked math and had that thought in my mind that I was bad at math and would never be good at it because I often would get confused in trying to solve a simple math problem and would fail tests. Whenever I began working on a math problem, I would forget the steps midway and then would leave it unsolved. This would cause me to have anxiety and would avoid doing math homework. Other times, I just didn’t understand what I would have to do in order to go from step 1 to step 2. When I began middle school, my math teacher saw that I was struggling and then she started to give me tutoring which helped me find my love for math. She used to use different strategies like drawing pictures to explain the problem, allowing me to gain a better understanding of the various concepts and methods used. Nowadays I enjoy doing math even though sometimes it can get complicated which can make me frustrated and create that mindset that I am bad at math. When this happens, I take a deep breath, tell myself that I can do it, organize my work and focus on where I went wrong in the calculation. I think the reason why people think they are bad at math is because they don’t have a proper understanding of the topic and it causes them to be lost and struggle a lot. Everyone has a different way of learning and it may take time for them to grasp information compared to others. That is why I encourage others to not give up and help them find alternate ways to improve their math skills because everyone can be good at math, you just have to believe in yourself, work hard and keep practicing. 

  12. Juan Giraldo

    Prompt 3:

    I’ve heard the words “I’m bad at math” multiple times in my life. I feel like we say this because we’re just not prepared enough. If we simply were to put in more time into those small errors, we would notice big results. My experience with math has been fine. I rather have math than ELA or any other subject because I don’t really like reading and writing, it’s boring.  I think of math as rules and theorems we have to follow in order to get an exact result. However , it can be confusing and complicated when certain/most topics build on top of each other, and that is when errors start to appear. Think of those mistakes as little cracks on a cement wall, where if we don’t go back and fortify them, then at one point we are gonna collapse, and it will be bad. Frustration and anxiety will hunt you down, so it’s better to spot those mistakes, spend time analyzing them, come up with a series of steps, and finally apply those steps to hw/practice problems.

    • Damian Kyle Brathwaite

      Hey Juan, I completely agree with your outlook on math and why people say they are bad at it. The cement wall analogy was also a pretty accurate representation of the whole situation involving math.

  13. charlie

    Prompt #3

    The thought of me being bad at math always crosses my mind as math just keeps on getting harder with every class that I take. This all started when I was in elementary school around 2nd or 3rd grade, I struggled with my multiplication and division meanwhile other kids were getting it down so easily which made me feel like I wasn’t smart enough. This all changed when a teacher took the time to help me out and made sure I could understand how to multiply and divide using special tricks. Ever since then I have helped many friends and classmates with understanding math because now I look at it as patterns. Each math problem has a specific pattern with specific tools it just has a different form. However, I definitely feel like things get difficult when you know a problem is going to be longer than expected and your mind starts going into overdrive in order to make sure you don’t mess up. Which you end up messing up anyways but you should always practice rereading your steps in order to help you understand where you made your mistake and always look at signs because almost all of us tend to confuse them. Overall, math isn’t for everyone as some people don’t like numbers and it can be very overwhelming but math will always be part of our lives and we should always practice the basics!

  14. Luijen Payano

    I Choose Prompt 3:

    I have and still do think that i am bad at math. Mostly in thought rather than saying it out loud. I know i am bad at math as math requires a lot of memorization, and i am forgetful. I think the only remedy is continuous use of math like a muscle that needs to be flexed or grows weak. Working together and talking about math i think can also help with the feeling of being bad at math.

    • Evan Anthony Cedeno

      Literally, the last thing you said resonated with me the most. I have continuously failed this course due to not flexing this muscle.

      Most people are ashamed to admit they are bad at it enough to actually do something about it without feeling so discouraged that they are left behind. Like you said: it is like a muscle; it needs to be trained and maintained for the best results.

      It is working together on an abstract concept like this one that will help with the workload but make the practice a lot more bearable.

  15. Damian Kyle Brathwaite

    Response 3:

    I have said before that I was bad at math…multiple times. My first time saying this was probably in 8th grade when I took algebra. I passed the class, however it was a real struggle for me but eventually with the help of after school exam prep and review I was able to pass with an 80. In geometry I said I was bad at math, in algebra 2, in precalculus, in calculus and especially in calculus 2 I said I was bad at math. Every time i seem to struggle in math I tend to think its because I suck at it. However, in all my major classes for EMT and CET that involve math I always do well in those. Whenever I think this i try to get help from outside sources like YouTube or friends, and doing so I am able to gain better understanding of the topic. A lot of people has said this to me throughout my life; friends, classmates, family members and even my girlfriend believes this to be true of herself. I think most people tend to think this about themselves because when they struggle to get past a certain problem or topic in math they give up because they are lost. All they need is a little guidance from someone who is far more knowledgeable on the subject to help them actually understand the problem and how to go about solving it. If you think you suck at math like I do, try using all sources available to you like google, YouTube, tutoring, group chats etc. to learn how to get past that slump.

  16. Ken Mei

    Prompt #3: 

    I wouldn’t say I’m bad at Math, but neither would I claim to be an expert at it. I often would hear people say something like “Math isn’t my strong suit” over “I’m bad at math”. This thought doesn’t really come to my mind often, but when it does it’s probably out of frustration from not getting a question involving math correct after repeated attempts. I think what makes people bad at math is the lack of consistent practice over time. It’s easy to forget something you learnt if you don’t practice it frequently and that applies to myself when it comes to learning math in college. If I’m stuck on a math problem for a while and I can’t seem to solve it, I either give up and move on to another problem or do a different assignment that’s potentially easier.

    • Opemipo Odugbemi

      I Like to do stuff that has a structure or always has an end goal. That is why I love math. you go from step to step and in the end you try to find out a particular solution, Like our best friend this semester “Y = …”

    • Jose Rodrig

      I totally fell the same way, just wanted to give you a hint of what I do, when it comes to a problems I cannot solve. I trace back, and try to identify what is it that I don’t fully understand, or what step did I miss? so if you ever get fixated on a problem, and you have the time. try that out!

      for example: lately, I’ve been tracing as far back into algebra, because I wasn’t sure I was manipulating an equation right. and even reviewed some of the rules of differentiating and/or integrating.

  17. Maharin Khondoker

    I choose 3rd prompt.

    I wouldn’t say I’m bad at math or something like that. I love to do math and I think math helps to improve my reasoning and logic skill which can be useful in many areas of life. People may think they are bad at math for a variety of reasons, such as having had negative experiences in math class, not understanding the material, or simply not having a natural affinity for the subject. These thoughts can be challenged by seeking additional help and resources, practicing regularly, and reframing negative thought patterns. It can also be helpful to remind yourself that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and that it is normal to struggle with certain subjects. If my friend came to me and said “I’m bad at math,” I would encourage them to not give up and to seek help from a teacher or tutor. I would also remind them that math is a subject that can be learned and improved with practice and effort. It’s important to note that not everyone enjoys math and that’s okay. Everyone has different interests and strengths, and it’s important to find subjects that you are pensionable about and that allow you to develop your skills and knowledge.

  18. Jose Rodrig

    Prompt #3.

    I like to describe my relationship with math as a love/hate relationship. I love when I am able to understand and complete problems. yet I hate it when I’m unable to do so. However, I have interest in math, I actually find it fun and it to be a good mental exercise. And regardless of how much I may struggle with an equations I would always find as many alternatives necessary to find its solution, I even find myself frustrated at times due to how long this process takes. But sadly, this interest isn’t strong enough as for it to mean or become a big factor in my life/career. I think that it could be because I don’t think as a mathematician, I don’t follow the logic and meaning behind its fundamentals and rules. I approach math on a more systematic way, which is mostly just finding the appropriate formula with the right set of steps to use and take, and find the answer that way. For this reason, I have never considered myself bad at it, but not great either.

  19. Anushan Thavasundaram


    While I wouldn’t say I’m a math genius, I also wouldn’t say I’m a horrible learner of the subject. Over “I’m terrible at math,” I frequently heard people state, “Math isn’t my strong suit.” Thoughts like this don’t really cross my head very frequently, but when they do, they probably result from irritation at repeatedly failing to answer a math question correctly. I believe that a lack of continuous practice over time is what causes people to perform poorly in arithmetic. If you don’t use what you’ve learned often, it’s simple to lose it. This is true for me when it comes to learning math in college. If I’m having trouble with a math problem and I’ve been trying for a while,

    • Anushan Thavasundaram

      I’ve previously admitted that I struggle with math… several times. I think I said this for the first time in eighth grade when I took pre-calc. I eventually passed the class with the aid of tutoring, albeit it was difficult for me. I believe that a lack of practice over time is what causes people to be lousy at arithmetic. If you don’t practice every day, it’s simple to forget what you’ve learned. Overall, although some individuals dislike numbers, math will always be a part of our lives, thus we should always work on the fundamentals.

  20. Ebtida

    1. I chose this article , This article talks about how people tend to jump to conclusions based on the results they get compared to others, resulting in them not bothering to understand the reasoning behind it. This then leads people to doubting their own competence resulting in them not even bothering to try to improve themselves. I remember back in Bangladesh, I used to be really bad at math, but I knew of my incompetence and I went all out in trying to improve myself, but after a while I realized that no matter how hard I tried I still wasn’t gonna be as good as some people, so then I decided to redirect my goal. Rather than getting to the top 10 or something like that, I made it a goal to always try 1-upping my self in every test. If I fail to 1-up my last score, then I would analyze what I did wrong and how I can improve. If I beat myself then I would analyze on what I did well and to try harder in order to beat the current score that I got. My main focus became “I want to surpass myself as many times as possible”. But once I came to America, I felt that all the math classes were a lot easier, but I still stayed to the mind set of trying to beat my previous score. Thus allowing me to endlessly improve without feeling intimidated about another person’s score. As I grew older I still felt as though I needed to keep surpassing myself, but I have gotten a little lazy in attempting to do so, this is mainly due to the number of A’s I keep getting in different math courses. The constant A’s plus the fact that no one cares if I do good or bad, prevents me from getting any real motivation to strive for better, since I’m most of the time close to my best and no one’s there to tell me otherwise, I just feel that there’s no point in working harder until I get knocked down a block or 2.

  21. Evan Anthony Cedeno

    So, I *have* had this thought, more often than I’d care to admit. To be fair, I haven’t had this thought in a very long time, even having taken this class a multitude of times. For every time that I had the thought, I would either try my best (for at best, maybe 30 mins – 1 hour) to understand maybe one or two steps within some of the problems, but ultimately, I would be unmotivated.  It was a lack of quality that corrupted my practice. Now, none of my friends have practiced math to the extent of me, so when they say I’m not bad with math, I like that, but am truly unsure of my ability to do math.  

    What I think people think when they are bad at math is usually “Oh, I made a mistake, therefore, ahh, I have smooth brain.” What I do to challenge this thought is well…For those who have seen me: they know how I act in office hours. I try to practice about 2-3 hours at least twice a week. This mostly happens during office hours, but I also take a separate number of hours to work at home (WebWork), even if I get it wrong 10 times. The thoughts themselves are untrue and are inaccurate relative to measuring the amount of skill I have with math. When people are like this (by “this”, I mean very self-critical and usually self-punishing), I usually try and emphasize the fact that they got far into a problem, or they eventually understood a concept and know what they’d need to look for in a problem. As well as also trying to help them understand that it takes time! And using this, I not only try to help, but also live my truth in the sense that through helping people and being consistent, as well as try to make people (including myself) understand that they aren’t perfect.   

  22. Kunal Surujprasad

    Option #3

    yes I have thought and said out loud that “I’m bad at math” before. I say it usually because I made a silly mistake that I shouldn’t have made such as small mistakes in basic algebra or when I’m stuck on a problem. If someone told me that they’re bad at math to me, I would ask them if they truly tried to apply themselves to learn the subject and that they probably aren’t bad just that they haven’t exercise the needed skills to be good.

  23. Shadman

    Honestly, I don’t think Im bad at math, but I have developed atrocious habits from the last 3 years that prevent me from doing the best math I could do. Their not much else to say. I learn quick, I study in small amounts of time, but I make sure its the highest quality, and I try to get the highest score I can.

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