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Why Algebra 2 Honors Should Be Renamed “Philosophy 101”

Why Algebra 2 Honors Should Be Renamed “Philosophy 101”

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InsaneRunningKid takes on the greatest of all evils: MATH.—Sparkitors

“Algebra 2 Honors—Mrs. Forest.” The sight of these five words on a schedule sends a cold shiver of fear down every sophomore’s spine. But despite Mrs. Forest's tendency to deduct points from an assignment simply because she dislikes your muddy running shoes —I swear this is why I didn’t ace my last test—there's no denying that she's the best philosopher since Justin Bieber (never say never to drugs, guys). Here are a few of her most memorable philosophies.

Don’t be a blind squirrel. One of her favorite phrases, Mrs. Forest often emphasizes the importance of not rushing into a problem like “a blind squirrel.” This is because blind squirrels are not very rational, and rationality is a key trait when it comes to graphing a circle or matrix multiplication. It's also applicable in “normal” life (life outside of math—who knew?) because rushing into a problem without any thought or planning is usually a bad idea, like deciding to vacation in Lesotho and packing your penguin fur parka (what, you don’t have one?) because it "sounds cold there."

Do like Garfield. This, I assume, is a reference to the large Garfield poster in her room that asks me daily “Have you used your brain today?” I have a tendency to answer written questions out loud, and so when I yell “SCHMECK YEAH!!!” at the poster, people look at me funny. (This could be another reason as to why Mrs. Forest arbitrarily takes points off of my tests—no pun intended.) Anywerz, this philosophy basically means that people should think about stuff before they do something stupid. For example: before you call your mom in a panic, screaming that your vision has darkened, check to make sure that you're not still wearing your sunglasses. (Note: You nay-saying English majors out there might interpret "do like Garfield" as meaning that people should eat more lasagna and sleep in boxes. Whatever.)

Voodoo is not allowed in this class. Basically, you can’t find the answer to a quadratic without showing the work for every thought that goes through your head. This is applicable in real life because voodoo is not allowed anywhere, really. Which stinks, because I just got my official license to practice voodoo from that skinny guy with the top hat from The Princess and the Frog.

Life is not a perfect square. This was her response to a very sweet but unfortunately mathematically challenged friend of mine’s anguished wail that “the discriminant of this quad is 42, and that’s not a perfect square! What in the waffle am I supposed to do now?!” To put it cleverly, life will sometimes throw problems at you that don’t have a straightforward or even real (HA) solution, and the answer to your problems might be irrational (double HA) or even imaginary (nonsense, but HA nonetheless). So it’s okay if riding invisible seahorses around the track is your solution to pre-race nerves—not all your answers are going to be rational.

If you have any doubt in Mrs. Forest’s philosophy, I double dog dare you to go out there and be a blind squirrel for a day. Tell me how that goes. All you math genii (but not genies) should really consider a philosophy major. I hear there’s quite a demand for hipsters in today’s economic downturn. Oh, and the pun in the Garfield bullet? There wasn't one. I just throw the words “no pun intended” into my conversations so I can enjoy watching the other person mentally struggle (“’Another reason?’…or maybe it was ‘arbitrarily’…dangflabbit!”). By the way, in case she is reading this, I LOVE YOU MRS. FOREST!

Does your math teacher have any philosophical gems you want to pass on?

Related post: Math=Voldemort

Topics: School, Life
Tags: teachers, homework, high school, math, algebra, tests, honors classes, philosophy

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