“Mr. Macintosh was my Geometry teacher. On the first day of class he stood before all us students and said, ‘By the 5th week I guarantee that 90% of you girls will drop my class.’ He was a horrible teacher, discouraged me from believing that I could do math. Yes, I dropped his class after weeks of being ignored for my requests for extra help. Shame on you Mr Macintosh. Shame on you. (See why have PTSD for math.)”

This horrifying anecdote was posted on my friend’s Facebook wall just one week ago.
When I followed up with her to squeal with indignity, she told me that it takes tremendous courage to doubt those who don’t believe in you. (Luckily, she did have the courage.)


Stories like these can be easily discounted as happening “long ago” or as “isolated instances.” Yet my friend’s wall became filled with comment after comment of similarly painful stories about math class. Some of those commenting are still in high school, or not long out of the classroom.

At Zeno, we are battling the notion that math is just for a certain subset of the population. But as you see, we (still) have our work cut out for us.

What has caused “PTSD for math” in your life? Or conversely, who or what turned you on to math?

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1 thought on “PTSD for math”

  1. Posttraumatic stress disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder; the characteristic symptoms are not present before exposure to the violently traumatic event. Typically the individual with PTSD persistently avoids all thoughts, emotions and discussion of the stressor event and may experience amnesia for it. However, the event is commonly relived by the individual through intrusive, recurrent recollections, flashbacks and nightmares.”.^..

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