**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

**people – building maths knowledge, competence and confidence at just the right time ! Laying down the foundations. Not at all like Col.**

*these*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.

Cheers,

Hmm

algernon1

said:I had a wonderful Maths teacher in 5th Form, Mr Severance; a Canadian, a motivator and just a good teacher. Did so well with him I moved up a class to Mr Clark who wasn’t as good. Still I did OK in Maths in the HSC. There were others who taught me that I recognise made a difference. Mr King who we called Albino due to his white hair in Industrial Arts. There are others though, who I’ve come to realise as being just mediocre. Bit like the wider workforce really.

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Mark

said:Mr Severence is about as convincing as my Mr O’Hoofter. Maybe it was just maths teachers.

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Mark

said:Actually Angler. I might use those characters in my next exciting episode of a story I haven’t written.

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Big M

said:Our head of English was Mr Richard Head, I kid you not.

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algernon1

said:Must have been a family name. Bit like the Hunts calling their sons Michael or Yorick

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Big M

said:He was a lovely chap.

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algernon1

said:I was just thinking a regular troll here might have something to say about this.

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Sea Monster

said:Well go on then. Don’t be shy.

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Therese Trouserzoff

said:… and you NEVER EVER will be allowed to do three unit maths for a hundred billion gazillion years because of your dreadful performance in year 9.

You’re a defective O ring on the space shuttle of maths knowledge, Big.

But you’re also a surprisingly lovely person despite that !

Besides, what maths challenges do you face on a daily basis ? Ten fingers, ten toes – all good to go !

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Therese Trouserzoff

said:This was supposed to be for Big M

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Big M

said:I went and did intro maths at UNSW during my nursing training, which was equivalent to three unit!!

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Mark

said:I did really well at maths, my teacher loved me, well sort of. One day he called me up to the front of the class and said that I should become an astronaut. Wow, imagine me in space. “Why, thanks Mr O’Hoofter” I replied carefully. “Well if you don’t improve I am gunna kick your arse so hard that you will hit the International Space Station, you understand me boy” replied Mr O’Hoofter. Oh well.

Seriously now, Tutu is a big sponsor of the Smith Family, putting kids through school and when I left my last abode I donated most of my furniture to the Smith Family. When the guy left he could see that I was upset as that was my life going out the door. He assured me that the people that will get this stuff will be truly grateful. I felt better then.

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Therese Trouserzoff

said:Bless you Hung. And all that ride in your caboose.

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honshades

said:A pi in your i, wots-yr-face!! This poor kid Emmjay grew up and went on on down the pi shop. He got his own pi!!

Smith Family is good. They do excellent work.

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vivienne29

said:Are these foundations actually what I call ARITHMETIC. It’s all just a collective thing now called MATHS – but after all these years it throws me. My daughter recently changed her monthly donation from one mob to the Smith Family because it was transparent and did what it said it did, honestly (and all that).

It’s great to love your work isn’t it.

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Therese Trouserzoff

said:Hi Viv. Yes, people DO call arithmetic maths, these days (easier to spell) – but in this case, the kids are taught basic geometry and also how to fill in their BAS.

I might have made that last tax bit up.

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Big M

said:Lovely to read, not you being anumeric, or is it dysnumeric? But to see that someone is supporting learning in disadvantaged children. There’s a fabulous resource called the Khan institute, which goes from preschool maths, to around the middle of a maths degree. It’s all based on YouTube videos, and fabulous as long as you’re on the inter world wide Web net, which I guess most of these kidlets aren’t.

I can empathise, as I was bottom of the year in year ten, but made up for it with some basic tutoring. I still,wasn’t allowed to swap to three unit, maths because, evidently I’d already fucked up.

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