Nerdy Math Girl
About Gina Parcells
Nerdy Math Girl
My friends say I should be embarrassed to admit that math energizes me. Sometimes I get so hopped up on math that I can’t get to sleep. (My friends don’t want me to admit that either.) It’s just that – in a world full of problems, it’s exciting and energizing to find solutions!
Back in high school, my Dad didn’t need a shotgun to get rid of would-be suitors. He used math as his solution. Every guy who came a-callin’ would eventually be grilled by dear ole dad about high school Algebra I. Once dad found out that my date had completed the course, Dad would take out his big math gun.
“Son, can you tell me what 21 x 19 is?” “Yes, Sir, if you’ll just give me a piece of paper, I will tell you.” Dad relished those moments…poor, oblivious boys. (This is where some of you might get lost, but those of you who have taken Algebra should at least hear a bell ringing. If there’s no bell, then you REALLY need me!) “Son, did you not learn that (a + b)(a – b) = a2 – b2?” “Yes, Sir, we learned that.” “Then, Son, you also know that (20 + 1)(20 – 1) = (400 – 1). Son, are you telling me that you can’t do 400 – 1 in your head?” I never had a second date in high school. Ever. THAT is the power of math!
Since I had no social life, I graduated Valedictorian from high school and then Summa Cum Laude from Clemson University. Fresh out of college I became a CPA, but accounting just wasn’t my cup of tea. I switched to teaching at a Virginia Beach high school and found both a love for students and a passion for teaching them. I did all the super dork stuff, from sponsoring the Math Honor Society to designing t-shirts with math puns (2 ∞ >) to creating contests for best math poems. (You should hear the love poem to math…it’s beautiful.)
I also did the mundane junk like earning National Board Certification, teaching the teachers, and becoming Teacher of the Month (no, not of the Year). I taught at that school for about a hundred years before I decided to take my show on the road. Why? Because kids deserve our very best. Kids deserve to gain a love for and an understanding of the processes that math offers, processes that guide them to solutions.
Kids rely on their calculators so much in high school that they are lost when the SAT asks them to do math.
Nowadays, we put calculators in kids’ hands and teach them that getting an answer is more important than knowing HOW to get that solution. Kids don’t learn their multiplication tables in third grade, and it haunts them in high school. Kids rely on their calculators so much in high school that they are lost when the SAT asks them to do math (Heaven forbid!) by hand. These same kids eventually join the adult workforce, but they have not mastered how to patiently work through a process to solve a problem. It’s not their fault. We the teachers have to change. That’s why I’m here. You can count on the Nerdy Math Girl to make math as easy as π. So, let’s get started!