It annoys me when people say “there goes another day when I’ve never used algebra” or “I don’t use maths in real life” because these people clearly haven’t been taught any real number sense or mathematical awareness. It shows that these people were taught maths as some abstract thing one does with numbers and letters.

I use GCSE level maths every single day, (and not just because I’m a GCSE level maths teacher!). I use simultaneous equations to work out how many days I need to take the train for my season ticket to be worth while. I use ratios to do recipes. I use basic linear equations for working stuff out with my home brewing beer and wine.

I use percentages when I’m shopping.

I use area when I’m gardening.

I use volume when I’m cooking.

I used standard deviation and statistical analysis when I’m looking at election results.

I cancel, simplify and approximating fractions to know how far through a book I am from the page number.

I use rounding and estimation when I’m trying to work out how efficiently my car is running.

I don’t believe that anybody on this planet goes a single day where they COULDNT have used algebra to make their life easier or do something better. The fact that so many people don’t shows that they’re not taught maths as a relevant subject, they’re not taught to understand WHAT they’re actually doing when they solve an equation, they’re just told “this is how you do this, remember and repeat”. People don’t know that they can actually use the skills they learnt at school, so they don’t.

And that’s really sad.