The first time I realized I was right-brained was a few years ago. I’d picked up a book called Organizing for Your Brain Type. As I was reading, I suddenly realized, “OMG! It’s me! This is me!” It was explanation of why all the things that worked so well for everyone else didn’t work for me.
Math was one of those things. Right-brained people are holistic thinkers and very creative. It takes a huge mental shift to think sequentially and be logical. My first experience with this was a 2nd grade math class. I was called up to the chalkboard to figure out a math problem. Evidently I was taking too long, and the teacher spanked me in front of the class. Can I hide now?
I got by in later classes, I think, because I memorized a lot, and I could watch for patterns. I was still a poor student when it came to any kind of math. Fractions and division were particular confusing.
But what got me was algebra. It was required in high school, so I had to take it. The teacher goes to the chalkboard and scrawls out something like X + 7 = 15, then starts dashing off formulas rapid fire. I was still stuck on what the heck X meant. Then the teacher assigned us homework. I took it home, and it was, “What do I do with this?”
So I asked my father, who is a math guru. He showed me how to do the formulas. My brain started to hurt from all of the logic. It took a long time to get the work done, and was mentally exhausting. But I checked my answers against the back of the book. Yay! I’d gotten all of them right.
The homework came back from the teacher with a big, ugly 0 at the top and slashes through every problem. I never did better than that. The teacher couldn’t be bothered to tell me what I was doing wrong, so I got a D for the final grade. I looked down at that D and wished that it had reflected all the tremendous effort I’d done. I worked harder than all the other students and yet, had nothing to show for it. I walked out of that class without learning anything new and hating math.
School days are always a horror for kids, something Buffy the Vampire Slayer took advantage of. Have you traversed the minefield in school and survived to tell the tale? Share it, so I can feel like I’m not alone in the Math Horror Zone.