When it came to choosing an elective for my second year, Discovering Mathematics was one of the options that I automatically avoided. All I could think about was my previous experiences of Maths and ‘why would I want to put myself through that again?’. However, after discussing the elective with someone from third year, who had actually done it themselves, my mind was changed. They explained that the elective wasn’t about formulas or standard deviation, or any of those other horrible topics of maths, but more of the understanding of maths, why we need it and how we can use it. I thought this would be really useful for me as a learner, as well as a teacher.
My Maths Experience
Throughout primary, I was in the top group of maths and found most of the work pretty straightforward. The only thing that I knew I wasn’t good at was my times tables and this really knocked my confidence. Every night me and mum would sit and practice them, over and over again. Eventually I could see myself improving, which helped my confidence within the subject.
Then came secondary school, where my confidence and ability in maths took a drop. Preparing for my N5’s, I remember dreading a Tuesday morning; double maths first thing. I was still in the ‘top group’ and our class was moving at an extremely quick pace. During class examples, I would still be processing the question we had been asked and the rest of the class would be shouting out answers. I never contributed to these discussions, I knew I would get it wrong! In the end, I got a tutor to try and help me pass. It was going well, and my confidence was growing the more we practiced. About 3 weeks before the exam, I was packing up after a session with my tutor feeling good about my ability. She however, explained to my mum and I, how worried she was about me, and that I should speak to the school about getting a calculator for the NON-calculator exam!! I completely freaked out, if she thinks I need a calculator for the non-calc exam then I have no chance in passing! I just gave up at that point and gave up trying, it completely knocked my confidence.
Thankfully, the exam paper was good to me and I managed to get a good grade. I dropped maths after N5, so I have never been able to rebuild my confidence. Through this elective, I am hoping to regain some of the confidence that I lost and also increase my knowledge and understanding of maths. I need to work towards this as to teach a subject, I need to know it myself. I definitely regret dropping maths as soon as I could, as I feel as though my knowledge of, even basic maths, has taken a hit from this choice.