Thursday, February 27, 2014

Geometry is Evil

I liked school. No matter how many times we moved, school was always there, and I appreciated some consistency in my life.  I thought that I was pretty good at learning things, and I loved listening to my teachers give lectures, even if I didn't necessarily pay attention to everything they said.  I'd sit near the front, and more often than not, I'd be that kid that raised her hand every single time the teacher asked a question, because I'd actually done the homework.  Yeah, I was that kid. In hindsight, that explains why nobody would sit with me at lunch.

Yes, I loved school.  Except that I loathed Geometry.  Hated it with the passion of a thousand white-hot suns experiencing multiple solar flares. Math and I generally shared an easy truce over the years, but Geometry lead to a suspension of diplomatic relations. Geometry is the reason that I tell people that Math is evil.  I'm not saying that Geometry is a horrible thing, and please don't send me an email about it.  There are many reasons why I retain a strong dislike for Geometry to this day, but over the years I've refined my theories and honed them sharp as a blade, or at least down to my main three.

First, my first Geometry teacher was the "Basketball Coach".  He wasn't really all that interested in actually teaching; he was all about winning state championships. Mr. D would stand up at the front of the room directly from the book.  If you asked him a question, he would point to the book, and tell you to read it. It didn't take long for us to figure out that all of the answers to the homework were in the back of the book.  Forget all of that "Highly qualified teacher" crap.  I don't even know if the guy even had a teaching certificate, back in the day. I was so thankful at the end of the first semester because I would be changing teachers.  Finally, I thought.  I'll get a real teacher who can explain all this mumbo-jumbo to me.  Except that they gave me...the Baseball Coach.  (It didn't get better when I took Trigonometry.  That was taught by the Soccer Coach.)

Also, I am a not a sequential learner.  I never have been, and it's been a problem for me.  Math is a sequential task.  Every step of math builds onto the next step. You miss a block or two, and you're indescribably lost.  I never got beyond the basics of Geometry because I missed a few crucial steps, and the horrible teacher wouldn't stop and reteach.  I couldn't stay after school, because he had basketball practice.  I also have to understand the "why" of a thing, otherwise my brain won't process. Why did a particular theorem prove that?  Why didn't another, equally pretty, visually stimulating theorem work?  I might have been okay if I were allowed to start from the end and work my way backward, but that's not what was in the book, so the "teacher" nixed that idea. 

Finally, Math is a foreign language.  Don't tell me that I'm the only one who noticed this?  Every equation is a sentence.  If you read the symbols aloud, there's a grammar to it, isn't there?  Pretty crazy.  Algebra is like learning Russian, with its hard cadences and all those extra letters thrown in like an extra shot of vodka.  Calculus has many qualities in common with Chinese.  But Geometry?  That's pure Latin, right there, with it's black and white rules about everything and those theorems and such. Latin is a dead language; its parameters are finite.  Geometry is the same way, a finite set of rules used to prove or disprove a statement of geometric "fact".  Unfortunately, I have enough trouble with English.  Throwing other languages at me is not a good idea.  Geometry never made sense, no matter how hard I studied.

Because it is evil.

So, what was your least favorite subject in school? 

Mama’s Losin’ It

5.) Your least favorite subject in school.


  1. My tolerance for a subject was strictly teacher driven. I have to say that our geometry teacher's methods seemed silly at the time, as the whole class repeated theorems out loud repeatedly, and then for homework we wrote them down repeatedly...but it worked.

  2. I never LOVED math the way I did many of my other classes, and I totally agree with you about geometry, but my least favorite was World Civ I. It's the only class I ever got a C in. Ever.

  3. I cheated my way through Geometry. Blatantly. I'm dreading the time when I have to speak with parental authority to my girls about the evils of cheating. Hypocrite.

  4. Geometry, ugh! Nope, never going back to that. Even now sometimes the kids bring home homework and I'm just're never going to need to know that. Just quit now.


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