Juicy Contradiction

March 4, 2012
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Numbers aren’t my thing. I don’t like algebra. I don’t like geometry. I don’t like functions. I don’t like graphing. I don’t like finding the derivatives of s to the nth power, I don’t like expanding cubic equations, I don’t like math. In truth, I hate it. But my favorite teacher is a math teacher.

Cries of heresy must be circling the cubicles of the Teen Ink offices. “What is this sorcery?” employees must be exclaiming, heads exploding left and right. “Has she been brainwashed?” “Should we stage an intervention?” “Get her an interview with the Starbursts executives; she could be the next ‘Juicy Contradiction!’” “Someone help this poor, confused girl!” “This is madness!”

No, this is Bower. Trina Bower. This running-crazed, health-nut, and uncharacteristically stylish advanced algebra instructor is my favorite teacher. Why? How can she be my favorite teacher if all of my interests are perpendicular to hers?

I’ll be honest. Nearly every student asks one question on the first day of his or her math class: “When will we ever use this equation?”

Her answer: “Never.”

She’s maybe a little blunt, but she’s honest. She relates. She understands. She knows angsty teenagers hate math, and anticipates that. Instead of forcing the two by two inch square blocks that we are into a scary, Unit Circle-shaped hole, she introduces us to it. She lets us get familiar with it, and then allows us decide for ourselves if we want to let that relationship blossom or place it firmly in the friendzone.
She keeps it real, so to speak. She adds the necessity of comic relief to the tragedy of Advanced Algebra. She sticks to her word. She adds enough irrelevant facts and distractions to keep things from getting depressing. Trina Bower’s got style. She teaches with ease; she keeps her students organized and entertained. She’s passionate about numbers. But most of all, she’s passionate about teaching.

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