How to Cope if You’re a Math Dummy

Many people label themselves as ‘math dummies’. This is unfair on several levels. First of all, it’s very judgmental. Who decides when someone is a math dummy? Also, this label is a hard one to overcome. Some math students take a certain level of pride in stating, “I’m no good at math – never will be.” There are also many people of all ages who look back on their learning years as being very challenging. Now is the time to find your math armor and face the subject. Start by making a change in your attitude today by dropping the label.  There is no such thing as a math dummy. Granted, there is a wide range of abilities, and there are many people who may not find much joy in mathematics. However, everyone can attain a reasonable success level with the subject. Trust me, I’m on your side! 

If you are a student, keep the lines of communication open between you and your instructor. People learning math often feel their difficulties are too basic for a teacher to spend time helping with. Any instructors worth their salt will dispute this claim. In a class of many students – all with varying abilities, it is sometimes challenging to know who exactly is struggling most. It helps if the student takes responsibility for this and keeps the teacher informed. Often there will be extra help classes scheduled. Some schools and colleges offer special tutorials and clinics where help is provided in a welcoming environment. But a student must seek it out. It really helps to stay organized. If you keep a list of homework assignments and scheduled tests or exams, you will be ahead of the game.

Sometimes students who are not happy with math in their life avoid practice. However, it is clearly evident. In order for students to succeed at basketball, piano playing, swimming, or a multitude of other skills, they must schedule in time to work at the skills. Math is like that. It may not be the way you want to spend an hour or two, but you will be amazed at what you remember after you have practiced a particular skill. This is also one area where peer pressure can be an advantage. If you have friends who may be experiencing similar challenges, consider getting together for small group sessions. Choose a topic and pool your abilities. Include some snacks, and it’s becomes a mini-math party.

If you’re still not convinced, consider using things you enjoy to help you cope with math. Did you know that almost every topic in basic math has YouTube videos available? Many of them are done by classroom teachers, and there’s a good chance hearing something explained by someone else may be the key. This is especially helpful if you must be absent from class. If you can’t find the exact topic on YouTube, then do a Google search and you’ll be amazed. Who knew quadratic equations could be this much fun?

Life is short, and what seems to be insurmountable today will be distant memory soon. In the age we live, no one can afford to disregard math and hope to get through life without it. It won’t happen. Instead, go for the gold and give it your best shot. And don’t apply the word “dummy” to yourself again – not in math and not in anything else!