Saturday, July 19, 2008

Math for Dummies

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am taking a math class at Montgomery County Community College during Summer Session II. The class is a 100 level class for Freshmen. I am the second oldest student. There is another pregnant woman in the class but she looks about 10 years younger than me. Everyone else looks about 18 years old. One girl, the one who has "lost" her text and always shares with me is taking this class for the second time. A shocker since she is always blatantly text messaging while the professor is explaining things and then has no idea what is going on.

Why am I doing this, you may ask? Well, in order to teach in the glorious state of Pennsylvania you need to have taken 2 semesters of college level math at some point in your educational career.

Now most people that go to college take some sort of math or statistics or econ class. How did I get out of math you may ask? Well at Georgetown, as a language major, you can choose between math or science. A brilliant choice that I made wisely so that I would never have to deal with variables and equations again. Until I made a career change and decided to become a teacher.

Here is the dialogue between the Dean of the Graduate Program at Cabrini and myself during my admissions interview:

Dean: "So I was looking at your transcript and I don't see any math on here."
Me: "Well as a language major I did not have to take math. I could take science instead."
Dean: "I see. Well, you are going to have to fix that. You can't get your certification without 2 semesters of college math."
Me: "I don't understand, I am applying to the READING specialist program. What does that have to do with math?"
Dean: "Absolutely nothing. But even so it is the requirement in Pennsylvania."
Me: "Um, but I went to Georgetown. Doesn't that count for something?"
Dean: "No. It doesn't."

So now that I am almost finished the program and hoping to student teach in the fall of 2009 I need to get those math classes in.

Registering for the class was a trauma in itself. I faxed in the application/registration form and a nice lady from Montco Registration called me almost immediately to discuss why she could not register me. Apparently I had to take a placement test. I told her there was no way I would have "time" to come to Montco and take a placement test - what else could I do to register?

Registrar Lady: "Do you know what you scored on your Math SAT? Was it above a 550?"
Me: "Um, lady, I took my SAT's in 1990. It may have been above a 550 - it was a 1250 combined - but I am not sure about the math portion."
RL: "Well if you have an official copy of your scores you can fax them over. If not you can call the College Board and have them sent for a fee."
Me: "Fine give me their number."

Determined NOT to have to take a placement test that I would surely fail, I contacted the College Board. $70 later the girl on the other end...who may or may not have been born in 1990 assured me that my scores would arrive in a week. (BTW, I got a 590 on my math SAT - shocking really since my math skills in high school were borderline special needs).

So here I find myself home on a Sat night studying for my first math test in 17 years. The material is not so bad - basic Algebra and Linear Equations - but I am still nervous.

The moral of this post careful when you take the easy way never know when it will come back to haunt you.


MathChique said...

Bravo! It will be good for you. You are going to have a deeper understanding of the subject and you never know when your career will change and you end up teaching grade school.

Italianissima said...

Thanks! I am doing much better than I thought I would...I have to take the Praxis soon so this class will help me tremendously!