Why are people afraid of Maths?

Following the 2 inputs we’ve had so far on Maths, I’ve decided to write this post as part of the TDT. Personally, I have no anxiety at all regarding Maths, it’s a subject I’m totally comfortable with and would choose to teach it instead of any other curricular area any day of the week. I’m not quite sure where my love for maths came from as neither of my parents really share my enjoyment for it and even my brother wasn’t all that keen on maths at school. All through Primary School I was okay at Maths, never good nor bad just doing fine. Then all of a sudden in third year at High School I undertook Standard Grade and all of sudden I realised how much I liked it and that I was actually really good at it. So much so that I even took Advanced Higher which many of my friends couldn’t understand as that would be their worst nightmare!

There’s just something about doing calculations and solving problems that I really enjoy. There’s always an answer. I don’t feel the need to guess on a whim because I can always find the answer even if it takes me 50 attempts and when you do, there’s nothing more satisfying than having got to the right answer eventually. Maths is everywhere, it’s in everything you do such as counting the change you’ve got or telling the time. It’s definitely an important part of the curriculum and always has been, I have strong memories of reciting my times tables to my Mum as part of our homework.

Something I found really interesting in the inputs was how being illiterate is seen as being unacceptable (which is completely understandable) and yet it’s acceptable to be innumerate? Its definitely not. Everyday life would be extremely difficult if you were innumerate, I don’t think people realise quite how important Maths is. This is why it’s extremely important to inflict an enjoyment for Maths on children from the moment they walk into a classroom for the first time. I can see why people are afraid of Maths because it can be very daunting especially if all your friends can do it and yet you just can’t seem to get a grasp on it. This could be partly down to influences from home as it seems to be very common nationwide to have a fear of Maths. As I have a passion for the subject, I feel like it is my job to make sure the pupils I teach aren’t afraid of Maths and I can make it as enjoyable as possible.

However, teaching Maths is a whole other ball game. To be perfectly honest, I would have no idea where to start on how to make Maths enjoyable, especially as it’s compulsory which can make it all the more scary. When teaching Maths I will try to demonstrate how fun Maths can be and hopefully the pupils will pick up on my enthusiasm! My goal for placement regarding Maths would be to try and find innovative ways to teach it that will spark an enjoyment for the children. How I will do this, is something I will have to figure out in the mean time!

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