FORGOT YOUR DETAILS?

Johnathan Stewart

As I contemplate how math has changed the way I see the world, I begin to envision my future and how my education, my teacher, and my dad have affected my mathematical upbringing. Now, I’m not a math fanatic, nor do I score perfect 100’s on every test, but I do enjoy that math is definitive, absolute, and unbendable. In English class, it’s about interpretation, in Science, (depending on the field) it’s about experimentation and results, yet those results can be altered based on countless factors. But math, math will never be based on opinion. You may be given a set of answers, but there is no “best” answer. No matter how many paths you use to get to your answer, there are only 2 results. There is true and false; right and wrong. My father, who has bachelors in mathematics, once told me “math is a poetry in itself.” Now, a senior in Calculus, I certainly am seeing what he means by it. Math has allowed me to see the world in a more systematic perspective, where the world we live in isn’t run by human error and interpretation, but numbers which are permanent and unchangeable. As our world evolves, we’ll rely more and more on those numbers in invention and innovation, which is why it’s important to understand them before you drown in a sea of automation.

Junior year Pre-Calculus, and more specifically, my math teacher Mrs. Renshaw was a major inspiration to me. Presently, I would say she is not only my math teacher, but a mentor and friend. In her class I learned more than just trigonometry, functions, or graphs. It was there I learned how to enjoy math. Before, math had just been another course to pass in school, one that seemed simplistic and dull. I knew how to do the work, but had not truly understood how essential it would be to real world application in the future. Mrs. Renshaw showed me there was far more to math than just values and graphs. Throughout the course of the year, the numbers before me, a different language in which I was unable to decipher, suddenly became as clear as day. Mrs. Renshaw helped clear my head of confusion and kept me motivated through a variety of ways. From making math competitive in teamwork and contests to add the drive of winning, to the systems of remembering fundamental concepts, Mrs. Renshaw has made sure that math was never boring or tedious; but adventurous and fascinating. To this day I still remember many of her lessons which carried over to my senior calculus, which helped a great deal. The world opened up to me as I began to grasp the concepts of calculus. For the first time since I starting school, I began to actually enjoy math and see it for its fundamental essentiality to life. I understand now how math plays a major part in so many aspects of our daily lives and yet we don’t even realize it. From streetlight algorithms to electrical inputs and outputs, no one can argue that math is irrelevant. After college, while working a job that will most likely involve math in some manner, I will think back to my roots. Mrs. Renshaw is, and always will be, one of the two people in my life who inspired me and I am proud to have known her.

While I have known Mrs. Renshaw for two years now, my father, Darrin Stewart, has been an influence my entire life. Since I was young enough to grasp 2+2, my father has pushed me to greater lengths, both mathematically and in general. My dad graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in mathematics and understood the power of math long before I did. He’s always wanted to teach me what he has learned through study and through life. In taking my calculous courses, a new line of communication opened up between my father and me; it’s allowed for us to bond even further through math. My father taught me the beauty in math. Outside of class, we would discuss various math problems. We did math problems over the phone and helped each other when one of us was stuck. My dad not only kept me interested in math, but he wouldn’t let me forget the math I learned, which he knew I will need in the future. I wouldn’t be half the person to enjoy the math without him. He showed me that math is one of the most crucial parts of getting a career. Learning math is not for the numbers and formulas, but for the critical thinking, the formulation of ideas and getting from point A to point B by logical means. Without my father, this would seem far more alien to me and I cannot imagine what I would do without his insight. From school to work, math plays a crucial role in the way we live and my father is one of the people who taught me that. Whatever my future yields, I know that he played a significant role in it.

Staying afloat in the sea of numbers has allowed me to understand more than just the system we live in today. It has allowed me to absorb the knowledge and see the fundamental reign math holds over us all. My father and Mrs. Renshaw are just two of the many people who understand this as well and their knowledge will continue to change the minds of others just as they’ve done with me. In the future, I am certain that my last two years of high school have not only enlightened my perspective on math, but have played a crucial part is what’s next to come. Only time will tell where my knowledge will take me, but ones things for sure, it wouldn’t have been possible without my teachers.

Johnathan Stewart

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