"Write down everything you can remember about your algebra teacher."
His name was Mr.Harter. Dennis Harter. He was a pretty young teacher (I mean, I don't remember thinking he was old and I thought all adults were old.) and I remember some of the girls had a crush on him. I didn't. But I didn't have a crush on him because he taught Math... and who in their right mind would teach math? Math. Math? Really? Math sucks (though I will never tell my kids that....). And I don't care how good-looking you are (were), I didn't ever look forward to Math class. Everything about algebra annoyed me. That you had to "show your work" so you couldn't just guess (my Plan B.), that there was only one correct answer & that I was terrible at it. I do remember that Mr. Harter once made us a multiple choice test, after we begged him to, thinking it would be easier. It wasn't. Instead it just made you question your answer even more (I was confident the answer was 2 until I saw that -2 was an option). Well played Mr. Harter, well played.
But even the subject matter didn't make me dislike him. I remember he was patient and funny. And he didn't says MathS with and 'S' like some of the Australian teachers did. For the record, I would have sat through a million of Mr.Harter's algebra lessons if it meant I could skip ONE of Ibu Fatmawati's Bahasa classes (That I learned to speak Bahasa is an even bigger miracle than that I passed Math.).
A couple of years later, in Mrs.Wilson's Math class (in a public school in Canada), a guy named Darryl picked up his desk and threw it across the room in frustration. I was shocked (that things like that actually happen in public schools....) but I didn't blame him. I could relate. In my mind, I had been throwing desks across the Math classroom for years.
Little known fact: In 2012, I love day-to-day math. I love calculating interest rates. I love finding percentages & averages. And I love teaching my kids to count & add. Let's give Mr.Harter some credit for that.