Those of you that have been following my blog, you know that I recently came across a blog post and article about elementary teachers and mathematics. Teaching and learning math is not easy and in fact scares many. Well, I wanted to share a couple very shocking comments as well as ones that I feel people should hear.
This first one is from a friend of mine. Yes, the survey was anonymous, but we were chatting online when she took it. She said 4 for liking math in elementary school and 1 for now. She did not leave any comment, which for anyone that is semi-curious, going from a 4 to 1, you want to know why. Now since we were chatting and I knew that she just took the survey, I asked her why she went from a 4 to 1. She then wrote this:
I hate math now. HATE IT. I don’t remember being bad at math or disliking it until high school. I am not good at it, I get anxious and freak out. I’ve tried everything, tutoring, private testing, anxiety pills. It doesn’t make sense to me…even though I’m really good at science. I don’t know why. I took Math at KU went to tutoring everyday, met with the head of the department once a week and had a private room for testing and I passed with a D. It’s just frustrating, I really like puzzles and I want to like math. Just one of those struggles I guess.
I talked with her and said that I completely understand why she does not like math. It is not because she just does not care for it, but because she has some learning disability that makes math way to difficult and she has tried to fix it, but for some reason cannot overcome it. We need to remember that there are students out there exactly like this.
This next one is crazy. It would be hard to overcome this:
I was homeschooled for the first 5 grades because we lived in foreign countries. My mother was really good at math and it was easy for her. It took me longer to “catch on” and she had no patience with me. So, I dreaded math. She would count to 5 and if I said the wrong answer she would slap me. So………..in junior high and high school I just hated math and when I couldn’t get it, I just gave up. The teachers only had one way of explaining how to do a problem. You either “got it” or you didn’t. However, I think math is extremely important.
We all need to be very careful about how we teach all things. Here is another:
Somewhere along the way…I quit “getting” math and just never did excel beyond elementary school math. I blame my 4th grade teacher who put me and my desk under a refrigerator box because I was too “social”. I was under the box for most of the school year. Never did tell my parents because I was afraid I would get in trouble. YEARS later when I did tell my parents, my dad was really mad. 4th grade was an important time when it comes to math facts….and I tried to see my math facts on the board from my 8×4 inch rectangle window, but just couldn’t. So yeah….I have issues with Math. LOL. Thanks Mrs. Grover….you jerk. True Story
After reading this quote, I wanted to cry. WHY WOULD A TEACHER ISOLATE A STUDENT IN A BOX?!?!?!? What kind of “teacher” is this? The person that wrote this, a good friend of mine, told me it was her. She said that now her friends from school and her laugh about it. She was “the girl in the box” that year. She also loves to read and is a great artist. When did she have time to practice art? Inside the box. When did she really begin reading? Inside the box. Great things came from this, but math is not her strong suit.
I guess what I’m sharing in this post is that we as educators (and parents) need to watch how we teach things. We cannot be harsh and abuse students. Telling students that they are wrong, this is not the “right way” to solve the problem. We need to watch our wording and our body language in all subjects.
Keep watching. There will be more posts as I continue to look at the data from the survey deeper.