Feeling Like Math Sucks For Teachers? There Is a way!

Feeling Like Math Sucks For Teachers? There Is a way!

Feeling Like Math Sucks For Teachers? There Is a way!

Feeling Like Math Sucks For Teachers? There Is a way!

Math is tough. If you are a math teacher, you know the drill: your students always struggle; you always force them to practice for at least twenty minutes, five times a week; there is always an outside edge to the class — people on Twitter debating trigonometry (who needs that anyway); the kids get unruly at the last minute.

It’s OK. You know your students have a hard time with math. You know you struggle. But that’s OK, right?

You Know Your Students Struggle With Math, But What About You?

Think about how you’re in a high school class. You’re in a math class. Yeah, right! Next question: Are you not doing math? You’re probably never taught math in high school. And if you really want to make an educated guess, you’re not even required to pass high school math.

There are math classes, and there are math classes. Many teachers would love to teach math in high school, but teachers are under a huge amount of pressure to hire and fire, to stay competitive, to do supply lists and cost cutting, to keep students in school, to sell?

My answer to that question: We would love to have the power to teach those classes. The statistics are interesting, but they also mean that many teachers would love to continue on in high school. I was a math teacher for 20 years. I was so lucky to be able to teach high school and college math. But we don’t have that power. We can’t hire and fire, or afford to hire and fire, or even expand.

Why Don’t We Just Stop Teaching Math At High School?

So we try and program to help our students learn math from home, with tutoring programs, science classes, creative projects and various ways to get them into the classroom to learn a little.

Maybe we can’t change math in schools anymore, but we can do something about this other way teachers don’t learn math. It’s called Multitasking.

Here’s how it works:

In high school, I taught an engineering class. We had to design an orange! We had to design an airplane! We did it together. I could do those things with a PowerPoint; no problem.

With physics, I had to tell the students to run their hands over water and then pump. I started playing jazz and loud music and I sucked them in.

I had to teach high school English the same way. I could write in a textbook; no problem. I could use a paint brush; no problem. I could write a paper; no problem. I could read and talk about reading; no problem.

I know this all sounds really lame. I know none of us like it. How can teachers (you!) do this when we’re our students’ teachers?

What We Can Do to Transform the Math Experience for Teachers and Students

Here are a few strategies teachers can use to make things fun and not just more work:

Have fun while teaching! Of course! The students enjoy being in class and like to learn. The teachers enjoy being involved, too.

In other words, make the learning fun.

In fact, you should try doing fun activities throughout the day, with at least 50% of class time devoted to fun activities. Let’s figure out fun math activities together, and teach them to the students. Look for fun math activities you already have in your own classroom or class, try incorporating some of them into your lesson plans.

Make your classroom more like the Outside (and Place) The classroom shouldn’t be this gloomy every day. Let the students discover the power of the classroom, not hide it.

Remember, everyone loves to spend time outdoors, even the tough math student. If you get the sun, get the kids to go outside! They may even become the math genius we are all hoping for!

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