literacy... OK; numeracy? not so good
Just from talking about our reading/writing selves in class on Tuesday and now reading your own stories about developing literacy, my head is spinning with memories, feelings of "yea, me too," and "whoa, THAT'S interesting!" Biking home on Tuesday night (after reading just the first couple posts), I had a vivid memory of my kindergarten classroom and the "letter people." Did you all have those cartoons posted up in your elementary classrooms? All the vowels were female, and the consonants were male. Since I didn't want to be a boy (aren't 5 year olds the most obsessed about gender?), I chose to be "Miss I" for an in-class performance about something that began with the letter (the exact moves of my "itching dance" are best left forgotten). At that time, I was terribly shy, so I'm sure the stress of performing in front of my classmates is what burned it into my brain.
Yet, I had completely forgotten something else I used to do that now seems related: when learning about numbers, I turned those into characters too, drawing hair on them and assigning each a personality and gender. 1, 2, 6, 8, 9 were female; 3, 5, 7, and 10 were male. I was never quite sure about 4. I was always thinking about the numbers as characters, although their characteristics could change. I'm sure that had something to do with my love of stories and characters in fiction. I don't remember when I stopped thinking about numbers as characters, but I don't think I've ever really had a rich sense of connection with numbers since then. I'm always transposing numbers in my head, I forget them quickly, and I've never felt like I "got" math the way some people did (even though I'm quite proficient at plugging numbers into formulas to pass those kinds of tests). I wonder if my illnumeracy is what illiteracy feels like: there's a world of symbols and texts out there, but I'm not really "in" it.