To start the year, I wanted to see what my students thought of mathematics. Is it pleasure or pain, hobby or hurdle, adventure or adversity? Or is it something else entirely, something that perhaps doesn’t come in alliterative pairs?

So I gave them a survey, asking them to complete the following six sentences.

- Mathematics
**is**… - Mathematics
**is not**… - Mathematics is
**useful**for… - Mathematics is
**useless**for… - My
**favorite thing**about mathematics is… - My
**least favorite thing**about mathematics is…

Their answers spanned the whole spectrum of attitudes, from rapture to resignation, from joyful to jilted. (Apologies for the alliteration; I can’t contain it. Clearly.) Here’s a small sampling selection smattering collection of their answers, in all their silly wit and strange variety.

…playing with numbers.

…a long word for “maths.”

…the best!