Maybe math isn’t the beast under the bed…

Posted: September 14, 2013 in The root of the matter
Tags: , ,

MATHEMATICS. Just thinking about the word would cause my heart to race, my palms to clam up, and my mind to go into hibernate mode. I did not have wonderful experiences in mathematics class. I really wanted to understand mathematics, to develop a passion for it, and to be fluent in numbers…but I was seemingly always one step behind. During class, the teacher would explain the concept once and we would then attempt the problems in our workbooks. I would then  furrow my brow and stare and the jumble of numbers before me, silently trying to will them into submission (they were defiant subjects). This was my daily experience in mathematics. It wasn’t until my fourth year of university that my AHA! moment came: I was in Jill Britton’s mathematics class at Camosun and I realized I was enjoying mathematics. ENJOYING!  But how? and Why? For years the math monster had plagued my existence, causing me embarrassment and shame when I couldn’t calculate quick enough in my mind, costing me money and pride when I had to re-take calculus in university ( my former professor even once said: How do you not understand this?!?….maybe not their best teaching moment)  and overall affecting my self-worth. As you can imagine, I was utterly shocked that I could comprehend the material and I was even contributing to the class discussion (look at me go, mom!) I have since realized what happened to me while taking Jill Britton’s mathematics class: she taught mathematics meaningfully. she related mathematics to everyday life, it was personal, interactive and engaging. It was what I had been missing all through my formal educational years. I know that one day, I am going to be teaching mathematics, and I am going to guide my students through mathematics class by relating mathematics to their personal experiences; so that they grow up not thinking of mathematics as the beast under the bed, but as an element to life that is embedded in everything we do.

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Comments
  1. dwjones1992 says:

    How did she make it personal and engaging for you? As a maths teacher in training I’m interested in your perspective, as not many people have undertaken the transformation that you have 🙂

    Many thanks,
    David.

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