Thursday, March 27, 2008


This post is not related to illness--unless you count Mathaphobia as a sickness.

Here's my bold confession. Oh, boy. This is a tough one. Are you ready?

I, Tiffany Christensen, at age 34 and of sound mind and relatively sound body, do not know my multiplication tables.

Yes. You read that right. I don't know what 7 x 4 is. I have to use a calculator.

Last night, my hubs and I were talking about this sad and disturbing fact, of which he accurately likened to me not being able to read. We were able to trace it back to elementary school. My teacher had a technique for teaching multiplication which consisted of students coming in to see her one by one and being drilled on random multiplication equations.

What's 8 x 3?

What's 7 x 9

What's 12 x 3

You got 2 seconds or less to answer or else...I don't know what the "or else" was but I was terrified of it!

This is not a good way to teach me stuff. I have panic attacks when I watch "Jeopardy" with Alex Trebec! That kind of pressure makes my brain freeze...and when it come to my times tables my brain has never thawed out.

After that, I was the one my teachers always brought to the front of the room to do equations on the chalk board--oh, that really helped my anxiety, let me tell you! I imagine they thought they were giving me special attention but they were really just giving me a heart attack.

I have lived as a Mathaphobe my whole life. You might wonder why I don't learn my multiplication tables now--good question. Maybe it's time to conquer my Elementary School demons!

In the meantime, if you see me counting on my fingers, please don't make fun. Just hand me a calculator. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

God bless calculators in phones. Even if i do know what 7*4 is (think 7*2 is 14 and 14*2 is 28... i can't do it in a short way. hehe.).

Kathryn said...

Have I got a book for you. Have you ever read Math Curse? It's a children's book and it made me laugh so hard. I never learned my multiplication tables either although when I took a course on teaching math I learned some nifty tricks I must have thought were against the rules (like using addition clumps to get there) You are not alone.

Laurie said...

Um, I still can't add fractions. I got through calculus (don't ask me how, I tried to block the whole year out) but recently discovered I forget how to do long division. Seriously. I am just not someone who will ever have that left brain/right brain balance thing.

But at least we have self awareness, right? :)