i just dont know what good this form of math is going to do for me in the world besides help me pass high school.

You've asked an excellent question.

If your teachers have not yet shown you how what you are learning is likely to be relevant to your life in the future, then it might be worth asking them directly - probably best done in office hours instead of putting them on the spot in the classroom. As educators, we each have our own reasons for believing what we are teaching is really worth learning. In my classes, I focus a lot on helping make the learning activities and materials personally relevant for my students. As a student, when I was taking a class I truly thought was a waste of time, I would figure out what I had to do minimally to make the grade I wanted so that at least I wouldn't see a drop in my GPA.

I regularly advise my students to look hard at their options for instructors; get recommendations on who to take and who to avoid. The value of each of your courses is so dependent on how well an instructor's style and teaching methods work for you. For those in college, I highly recommend going to as many "first day of class" sessions as you possibly can during the first week of classes (even the full ones), looking for which instructors you think you could get the most value from. Almost all the college instructors I know would do what they could to add students to their rosters if the students took initiative and showed up more than once.

I will also echo the statements others posted above - your education is what YOU make of it. The more clear you are about your own life goals, the more easily you can see whether what you are learning can be relevant or not. One key is to look at whether skills you are learning will matter outside the class you are learning them in. Math is often the most tricky - but you should be able to look at your goals and figure out which types of math are going to be the most important to put real effort into mastering. I took AP Calculus in HS and more advanced math in college but have almost never used them. What I wish I'd taken earlier was statistics - that is relevant every day.

Let me know if you'd like to talk?

Very sincerely,

~ Dr. Mel

## Comments

Can you be more specific about which form of math you are questioning? If you just mean math in general, there are countless practical reasons for improving your math skills, many involving money. Arithmetic is vital and algebra is really just a symbolic form of arithmetic. The most important math skill that you will use--assuming you aren't going into a science/medical/engineering field--is the ability to visualize a story problem (a real life situation) algebraically so it can be reduce to simple arithmetic.

If you could give a specific example, I'm sure someone can counter with an explanation of a practical use for that type of math. I know when I was a kid and asked, "What's the point of all this?" it only frustrated me further when I was given a pep talk about building character and what not. (The pep talks are all still true, but don't answer the fundamental question of what it all means.) What I wanted to know was, "How is this skill applied in the real world?" However, without knowing which specific skill you are asking about, we cannot be more specific in our answers.