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Simulated Retribution

Story by Emmjay

OK, I’ll admit to my fear and loathing of mathematics.  But it wasn’t my fault.

I blame Col Davis – my Year 11 and 12 maths teacher.  I was fine until Col got his stubby little fingers on me – and on my mate Peter Stephens.

We were at the bottom of the top maths class.  Warning:  this is a very dodgy place to be.

Trying to keep up with the soon-to-be rocket surgeons and brain scientists  – we had no real interest and even less natural talent.  I think we were there to make up the numbers.  I made up lots of numbers but few if any fooled Col.

Col looked at our combined genius work one day, sucked air through his stubby little teeth and proclaimed Stephens and Jones to be “barnacles on the ship of progress”.

Despite my earnest desire for the floor to swallow me up, we remained Col’s playthings and the rocket surgeons’ major source of amusement – until the bitter end.

Despite Col, Stephens became an RAAF pilot and I became an Agricultural Scientist but we have never forgotten how maths incompetence can be an acquired and heavy burden.

And a source of great anxiety.  Roll the words “integral calculus, Bayesian probability and imaginary numbers” around in your mouth and see how terrified you become too.

But don’t worry.  In the uncertain territory of maths education, there now comes a shining white knight.  I know because these days I toil in their magnificent engine room.

They are the Smith Family – and more precisely the good folks working in the “Let’s Count Program.”

Let’s Count has a wonderful single purpose – investing in early childhood maths education – by assisting early childhood educators to teach maths to disadvantaged 3 to 5 year olds.

I bet you didn’t know that a significant number of disadvantaged kids arrive at infants school unable to count or to recognise shapes.  And some just never catch up.

Some kids rely on schools for their daily meal.  And apart from supporting maths teaching, the Smith Family assists 65,000 kids and young adults around our sunburnt country by providing books, uniforms, school fees, equipment and mentoring.

We all know that It’s hard to be confident with maths when you don’t have the foundations.

So how good are these people  – building maths knowledge, competence and confidence at just the right time !  Laying down the foundations.  Not at all like Col.

If you’re out there Col Davis, or Son of Col, or even Grandson of Col – I am delighted to be working for the Let’s Count team and to be busting through your mathematical legacy.

The Smith Family are doing such great work – helping to break the poverty cycle for families by supporting kids to make it through school and to build a future.

Give them your support and help put a Pi in Col Davis’ eye.