2007-05-08 - Math 101
Math has never been my strongest or favorite subject. I am the last person who wants to be the banker in a friendly game of Monopoly. The one course I dreaded more than physical education class was math with Mrs. Helen. She was my math teacher for two years, and she was extremely intimidating. She didn't stay after school for extra help and wasn't very approachable about a problem, mathematical or otherwise.
Helen's class didn't celebrate how God created each of us middle schoolers as unique and different. Instead, the class breathed fear in me. When we face fear, God assures us. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)
It was common to have homework nightly. During the next class, my teacher would randomly call on students to write out their math problems on the chalkboard. While she determined who would go to the chalkboard, I would look intently at my homework paper, pretending to be engrossed and in awe, but in actuality, I was making sure that I could read my writing, just in case. When I heard "Lisa, number three," I quickly took my homework and my nervous self up to the front of the room. My heart pounded, hoping I wouldn't embarrass myself this time, praying, pleading with God that Mrs. Helen wouldn't embarrass me, or miraculously, that God could cause the school to have a fire drill right then.
Once my homework was copied onto the board for all the class to see, I slouched, only slightly, so not to draw any more attention to myself, waiting for Mrs. Helen to read the verdict. She would face the board, with her back to the class, and either say correct or mark an "x" next to the problem that was incorrect. She would then call on someone to explain what was wrong with the problem, and then that student would go to the board and fix the problem.
I never wanted to appear less than intelligent in that class, but most of the "x" marks were found on my math problems. I was out of my league with word problems and mathematical equations.
Every weekday, as I bent my head to bless my cereal bowl, I prayed that this day Mrs. Helen would not call on me - and if she did, that I had the right answer. Several times, this prayer was answered; other times it was not. Still I knew God was there with me. He allowed me to survive math class and not let fear get the best of me.