I don’t want to teach math

Posted on August 1, 2012


“I don’t want to teach math.”   That’s what the lady said while I was doing a pre-placement test review session with her.   She was volunteering at her daughter’s school, and her time happens to be math class time. Yes, she does want to be a teacher, but… English, reading, that’s what she loves.

She’s pretty good at the mathy stuff, though — she agreed that she was very logical… and just needed to be reminded of the right formulas to use for the placement test.  Things *did* come back quickly.  (But… she hated math.  Her only F ever was in a math class.)

What I tried to plant in her mind:   perhaps she would be *better* than a math-lover at teaching math, because she could bring her English/Reading teacher’s ability to analyze things from different perspectives into the mix.  She reflected that math teachers tend to teach things One Way and One Way only, whilst different children would need different approaches.

My hope?   That I planted a seed in her mind… okay, maybe to be a math teacher — but probably not.  However, maybe now… when a kiddo in that reading group is struggling in math, she will pause before saying “go talk to your teacher… I don’t know math.”  Just maybe she’ll say, “let’s take a look.”   And maybe she *will* be able to help, and help foster the message that math isn’t just for math teachers.  And if she teaches Grade N, she’ll recognize she doesn’t need to be a “math person” to be a good math teacher. Only, then, people will start calling her a math person.

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