As Told by a Math Teacher

When I was in high school there was a teacher who told the class that Math teachers teach Math because they prefer to keep things short and simple with as little words as possible. He said that Math teachers don’t like English because it’s the opposite. We use as many words as possible to describe something and then ask what somebody meant by it. No, Math is just much easier to understand and keep straight. I’ve never liked math, but I was/am good at it to a point. I can see what the guy was saying, but still it bothered me a little bit. Because in no way should ? + b = 5c3/27(A) or whatever ever described as simple when it turns into degrees and such. When numbers turn into letters and letters turn into numbers it shows that something went terribly wrong.

At any rate, the group went to the Museum of Modern Art today and I ran into Courtney in one of the galleries. She was looking at this wall of frames with numbers and squiggles varied on them. And by wall of framed I mean, like literally a TON of frames with numbers and squiggles. However, some of them had lines with legit math problems like 2 + 3 =6 and then squiggles. Or something. I’m describing it because my photo taking skills are really bad so the picture sucks. Anyway, some of them were all squiggles, some all numbers, whatever, you get the point. But I looked at Courtney and decided(without reading the info about the work) that this artist must have been an English Major who was describing what happens when you force people(like English Majors) who generally don’t like math to do it.

Literally there was a legit math problem and then squiggles. It’s like whenever I see the new Math I II or III text books and it looks like a novel with numbers in it and I go WTF and I’m So Glad I Missed That. Math people look at pages at prose or poetry and do the same thing and read every line as blah blah blah. We look at math and go…blah blah blah. It’s the same thing. But when it comes together, it is just numbers that equal squiggles. So. Thanks to this piece of art my conclusion is this:

It isn’t the shortness or simplicity of math or the complexity of English that is the problem. It is the mixing of the two. Math should keep the numbers. English should keep the letters. The world makes sense. 😀

Image

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4 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous, Visual Arts

4 responses to “As Told by a Math Teacher

  1. While you can’t see the details in your pic here, the image still shows how overwhelming that piece was. I also like the fact that you’re interpreting the art on your own terms–that is what it’s all about–a little like reading literature…

  2. I love your post! This is exactly the “educational outcome” i had in mind when I planned that very first New York Comparative Arts trip — that students would be moved to “make connections.”

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    Reblogged this on WordPress Report.

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