Yes!!! me, me, me!
Here’s my math history.
algebra for the first time in 9th grade. I was always weak in math and got paired with an awful, truly awful teacher that HATED kids. She threw the book at us, didn’t teach a thing, and then called our parents in front of the class, during class, to tell them we didn’t do our homework that no one knew how to do. It was a long time ago, so I didn’t remember if I got a D or F, but it was bad. It was traumatizing, and I don’t say that lightly. This set the tone for math for the next decade of my life.
I retook algebra in 10th grade. Good teacher, but hated the subject. Scraped by with a C.
11th grade I had geometry and was passed with a C that honestly, I didn’t earn. My teacher pitied me when I really should have failed.
12th grade, I took business math. The kind where you learn how to balance a checkbook. It was math for the dummies that needed to check a box to get enough credits to graduate and I fit right in. I couldn’t risk taking a difficult math because failing again literally would stop me from graduating high school. (BTW, otherwise, I was a very good student. All As and Bs otherwise but just suffered at math)
Community college in 2003, algebra again. It’d been two years and I was never good at it to begin with so I needed to try to rebuild the foundation. Got a D.
Decided college was not for me and I’d never get through the math to any degree. Gave up.
Fast forward many years and I become dead set on nursing. I figured, I’ll do my very, very best. If it’s not enough, then I just wasn’t cut out for it.
2016 I re-enroll in community college absolutely determined to get through math. I retake that remedial algebra class, and on the first day I open my book and there’s an entire paragraph about the American belief that people are born “good” or “bad” at math. But in Japan, there’s no such myth. People that work hard at math are good at math and those that don’t, don’t. I decided to adopt the Japanese stance on this, as clearly the cards were stacked against me if I continued to believe I was “bad at math.”
First semester back in basic algebra: A. Not only that, I aced my cumulative final and my instructor said I got the highest grade anyone she taught that semester. She wrote that in red pen on my final. I kept that paper. It was my first math victory in my life.
second semester: intermediate algebra: A. Not just that, but I breezed through the class and ended with over 100%.
third semester: statistics, the last math class I needed: A.
the next couple of semesters my focus switched to the science prerequisites (and the strong grasp on algebra really helped in chemistry, fwiw) then I started studying for the TEAS.
My math section of my TEAS score? 100%.
So here’s what I did to turn around my math “life”
1) adopt a new attitude. Say it out loud. I was not “born bad at math.” I never learned how to do math, but I am not incapable of learning now. This is SO important and honestly, I’m convinced the key to my success. A quote I love and always say to myself and to my kids is: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” -unknown
2) Do what it takes. This might mean frustrating amounts of work that go above and beyond the assigned work. I did this before every test, I took practice exams before every test that my teacher never even saw. I did every problem I could find for every chapter. A lot of people don’t like to do work they won’t get credit for. That’s dumb. Your teacher won’t see it, but your test score will. Most college professors don’t check homework to see if you did it. Do it anyway, that’s how you study math.
3) go to every class, do every assignment. No exceptions.
4) YouTube!!!! YouTube was not a thing when I was in high school. My goodness, I don’t know how people got through school without it. Maybe your teacher isn’t getting through to you and you just can’t grasp a concept. Whatever it is, someone, somewhere has made a video for you. And you can watch it 1000 times if you need to. And keep at it. You will do well!
Take the idea that you can’t do it right out of your head and promise yourself you’ll do whatever it takes. Then, you will. It’ll be hard but you CAN do it!