Honestly, from the first day of classes I was perplexed why a + b + c = abc, so I dismissed the idea that Algebra was to be taken seriously. I actually thought our teacher was joking when she cited the alphabets in a numerical equation! That..... or I had a special numerical impediment called dyscalculia.
So the weeks passed that I got really scared. I had plenty of panic attacks during recitations, quizzes, long quizzes and .. The Unit Tests!
Facts About Algebra In The 80s and .... me :
* I dodged my Algebra classes as successfully as I could manage. Tough luck I had of having the Algebra class 3 days in a row. Mondays was 3-4PM, Tuesdays was 12PM, Wednesdays was 3-4PM again. Most of my absences were on Tuesdays when our class used a temporary room for the first period. So the next time anyone saw me that day I'd pretend : "Wasn't absent, I was there" or "What homework? I didn't hear that we had one"
* In one unforgettable Algebra Unit Test, I knew I was in big trouble, I prayed so hard that I would miraculously pass. Alas! It didn't work that way because I never practiced computations, of course. I found out later that I scored 3 out of 120 items. I could've hidden in a box for a season out of embarrassment.
* As expected, a lot of us failed Algebra and were given notice to enroll for summer class 1986. Me? I was enjoying the first week of summer in Tuguegarao City, and that notice/telegram cut my vacation short. :'(
* Summer school and the truth: I had 2 check marks on the attendance sheet out of the 45 required. Yes, severe absenteeism. The first day I attended was to say 'hello I'm late, but I'm alive, what did I miss' and the second was after 10 days and I lied I got very sick. Of course, no one would believe because I was really healthy. :-) Where was I during the rest of the summer class days? I was with Ate Baybee tagging along in her summer class in a university, or with my friends Lanie and Liezl, or.. worse, sulking at home.
(Photo of the private school I went to from kindergarten up to my second year. I miss and love it )
* At the end of my enjoyable summer class, I did not pass. I had a "back subject" and could not move on to junior year in that private school. My relatives, being the stand-ins for my mom, spoke with educators to plea my case. No, not the mafia way of "muscle-ing" people. Thankfully, whatever I did was all forgiven and forgotten. No questions nor reprimands from my relatives. Simply enrolled me in junior year, in another school close to home - so folks can keep an eye on me. That's how I call Algebra Changed My Life.
The 41 year old me wishes I'd have done things differently. Here I learned that whatever leisure I got out of dodging and escaping classes was only temporary. I should have faced the problem squarely and dealt with it openly with the guidance counselor of the school.
Thankfully, it wasn't so bad after all, because I changed my ways the next two years after that.
I gained that discipline to listen intently to Math teachers' discussions and to ask whatever confuses me.
And see, I survived my make-up Algebra class the summer of 1987, Advanced Algebra,Trigonometry and Physics in 1988 and College Algebra I and II in 1989.