I speak math; you speak math; let’s all speak math!

By Ashley Bean Thornton

I was lucky enough to get a tour of the BRIC (the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative) a few weeks ago. It is inspiring! As an old English major I love the symbolism of the BRIC, representing our hopes for a prosperous future, rising from the ruins of the Old General Tire building, an artifact from our economic past. As an old English major I also feel compelled to say one more thing: I have seen the future, and the future is – math.bricpic

With the WISD Advanced Manufacturing Academy, TSTC and the BRIC we have a nice little conveyor belt developing for moving our young people into good paying high tech jobs. The ticket to get on that conveyor belt is a decent ability to do math.

Waco needs to be a math town. I need to be a math cheerleader! This is a new role for me. (Did I mention I was an English major?) I may not be able to do much to help make Waco the math capital of the Southwest, but I can change the way I talk about math to the kids I know.

From now on when I hear a kid say, “I hate math.” Instead of saying, “I know, I hate math too.” I’m going to say, “Math was hard for me too, but it feels good when you finally figure it out; it gets kind of fun if you stick with it.”

When I hear a kid saying, “I’m dumb in math.” Instead of saying, “I know! Math stinks! Let’s eat ice cream.” I’m going to say, “It’s probably not that you are dumb in math; you probably need more practice. Nobody is that good at it at first. You’ll get better the more you practice.”

Yes, I know a kid’s success in math depends more on her teachers and her parents and probably a jillion other things than on my little pep talks. But, it is something I can do, and I’m going to do it. Join me? We’ll think of something more significant to do later, but we can at least do this. As an old English major I believe the words we speak into our young people make a difference. Go math!

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