During my secondary school years I hated mathematics. Math was a nightmare for me. Somehow I could not memorise formulas or the rules to solve algebra equations. In the following four years, none of my math teachers could find a way for me to see the sense in what I was supposed to learn. Just before my GCE ‘O’ Level examinations, I was put in a special class together with others, who were in danger of failing the Math final examination too. (In order for me to qualify for Junior College, I had to pass my Math examination.) Luckily the teacher in charge of this class was able to explain the sense behind the formulas to me. I finally understood the logic behind all the hocus-pocus. As a result, I passed my final examinations in Math and even scored a B! For the first time in my life, I enjoyed solving equations, deriving the curvature of graphs using formulas and so on and so forth.
The point is, if not for this teacher, I would not have had the opportunity to apply to a junior college and later go on to university. Why was she able to get through my <em>thick skull</em> where all others had failed? The way I remember it, she was young and fresh out of teacher’s college. She was full of innovative ideas and had the freedom to test her ideas out on us. I also think that the class size, of about 15 students, made it easier for the teacher to concentrate on the needs of everyone in the class. My normal classes were twice as large. Furthermore it was also quite helpful that the students in the special class were all at the same level. In the classes before that both math experts and math idiots (like me) attended the same lesson. As a result if the teacher taught at a slow pace, he risked losing the interests of those good in math. Therefore for the good of the majority, students like me were left behind instead. After some time, I was resigned to the fact that I would never understand math. I am glad that the school did not give up on students like me and arranged for these special classes. Thank you for believing in us!