Sunday, 4 July 2010
High Potty News
If you're wondering what 'High Potty News' is, it's just a silly way of saying 'hypotenuse'. Why I am saying 'hypotenuse' in a silly way? Well, because it's maths related and I seriously cannot stand maths, and so anything that makes it silly is always a good idea.
Back in the old days (er, when I attended school), maths wasn't always a problem. I was always placed in the 'top set' right the way through primary school and all the way up to my third year of secondary school. Then the dreaded Year 10 arrived, along with GCSEs, and while I was still placed in the top set, I suddenly became the class dunce. I was still just as competent at basic maths, but whereas before the top set placing meant that you had decent brain cells that worked, a GCSE top set meant that you would study a higher maths level. Most of my fellow classmates were able to cope with the higher level of learning, but not me. I'm good with numbers, sure, but start throwing trigonometry and quadratic equations at me, and I am lost. It doesn't help that I tend to panic if I don't understand something either.
Then there was my maths teacher, who, shall we say, wasn't exactly patient if you didn't keep up. I worked really, really hard at maths for the entire two year course, and even revised for the actual exam (yeah, revision for all my other subjects just wasn't happening *shifty*). Yet despite all my studying, I failed my maths abysmally (yet strangely I passed all of the other subjects with no revision at all).
It all came down to the actual papers that I sat. The higher set sat papers 3 and 4, and the possible grades were A,B,C,D or U (for ungraded - the polite way of saying FAIL in big capital letters). The next set down sat papers 2 and 3, but the highest grade possible would have been a C. Now, a C was the equivalent of the old style O Levels, and so the desired outcome of all examinations was a grade of C or above. I sat the higher papers and got a D for my efforts. Not an epic fail by all means, but not the C that was desired (I got four B's and four C's for all of my other (unrevised) subjects by the way, so I obviously had a brain, albeit not a genius one). Anyway, the really annoying thing was knowing that had I sat papers 2 and 3 instead, I would have had my C grade without a doubt. You see, my D grade was achieved solely from answering all of the questions on paper 3. When I sat for paper 4, I had a, um, let's call it an 'episode', and didn't answer a single question. It stands to reason that I must have had virtually all of paper 3 correct to have been able to attain the D grade. So if I had sat paper 2 I would almost certainly have answered all of the questions correctly. But my teacher wouldn't move me down a set because.... well, I don't really know why to be honest. Anyway, I failed.
Why am I talking about my maths exam? Well, it's because of the job I am doing now. I've always worked with money, so having basic number sense is a must. In the three jobs that I have had, I have had to cash up the tills, manage the floats and safe, and deal with banking the takings. Now, my maths teacher always told me that I wouldn't get anywhere without passing my maths exam. The amount of pressure that she put me under no doubt added to my complete inability to stem the panic that arrived whenever I saw those funny litle x's and y's. But even though I failed my maths GCSE, I have, throughout my entire working life, been dealing with numbers and figures on a daily basis.
So I'd just like to say something to my maths teacher: Ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha! You pressured me no end, didn't have the patience to explain things clearly to me (and made me snort way too much because you always had a button undone on your blouse, by the way, not to mention the funny walk that you did that was akin to John Cleese doing his Hitler impression), refused to move me into a more suitable set, and made me believe that I would be unable to find employment because I couldn't understand what a hypotenuse was supposed to be.
Pttthhhhbbbb! (That's a raspberry by the way, in case you wondered).
I may not know much about trigonometry, but I was still able to get jobs that involved plenty of maths. So there.