My Math History
I began loving math at about age 7 when I figured out the counting pattern. I was in first grade (for the second time, but that is another story) when other kids were showing off their ability to count to one hundred. I could only count to ten, so I asked my mom to teach me to count to one hundred and then I asked what the next number would be and from there figured out the pattern to 199. After about three days of thinking about it, I realized that the next number must be 200. When my mom confirmed my answer, I was elated because I knew I could count to forever. I told all the kids about it the next day and tried to explain that there is no stopping point, but some of them just didn't get it. I also had a challenging teacher that year, Mrs. Crady, who made math fun. Back in those days they weren't afraid to group kids by ability levels so we could all do our best and get the help we needed.
After first grade I got into some mediocre math classes and forgot for a while about how much I really liked math. In fourth grade when I was getting really bored with math, but I suddenly remembered my experiences in first grade, I told the teacher that I wanted to be moved up to the highest level math class. She didn't think that was a good idea since I was not an A student. I told my mom about the problem, and since I was upset, she made an appointment to talk to the teacher. The teacher moved me up before the appointment ever happened (what a wimp) and I did much better in the higher level class. In fifth grade I again started off the year in the average level class, but this time I didn't discuss the issue with my parents. Instead I bugged the teacher so much that eventually they made a deal with me. They said look, you take the next test that the high level class takes and if you do better on it than the lowest score in the class, we will move you up. I thought it sounded like a good deal, but the thought of finding out what the high level class was studying so that I could prepare for the test never occurred to me. Well as luck would have it, the lowest score on that test was a four percent. I got nine percent (probably the second lowest score) and so they moved me up as agreed. Once in the class I did well. As a matter of fact, I was the first student to get a 100% on one of Mr. Linky's math tests in three years. He was known to be challenging, and I was ecstatic to meet his challenge. From then on, I worked hard in math whether I had challenging teachers or not. I knew that it was my special area to shine and I wasn't about to let a few bad teachers get in my way.
I got my high school diploma from Perry Meridian High School in 1981, my Associate's Degree from Cuyahoga Community College in 1987, my Bachelor's Degree from Purdue at Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis in 1991, and my Master's Degree from Michigan State University in 1994. I always like to be learning something new, so I am currently studying programming mostly on my own, but taking an occassional class. However that is on another page.