To begin with, not only do I have maths anxiety, I clearly have a case of blogging anxiety. I am a few weeks behind in starting my blog but it is better late than never! Or so I am trying to convince myself, even though I know I should have started to push myself into starting weeks ago. I am going to begin with a less professional blog on my struggle with maths anxiety as a way of easing myself into blogging.
Mathematics was definitely not my strong point in school. I was never necessarily bad at maths, but the confidence I had in myself was virtually nothing. Something I have always struggle with when I was younger was my times tables, I always found learning them by rote was very boring and it affected me a lot throughout primary is it took me longer to work out answers as I wasn’t able to remember it straight away. I wish when i was younger we had all the apps on phone etc that we do now as a feel they would have made a huge difference. When I think about my experience doing maths in primary, all I seem to remember was being very slow at getting through the work and feeling a race of panic when everyone else in my group had completed the worksheet and I was left alone. Thinking back in the eyes of a prospective teacher, was it really bad that I took my time trying to get all the answers correct when everyone else rushed through the questions and ended up with a lot of silly mistakes that they had to correct? Now of course, mistakes are never a bad thing as it is a good way of learning, however, I wish I wasn’t quite as hard on myself for being slightly behind as it put me off my work even more. I always remember my mum being told at parent’s nights that I was easily distracted in class and I think this was the perfect example. When I started high school, my confidence in maths fell further as we were put into ‘sets’ and it seemed like I wasn’t as good as maths as I had hoped.
Fast forward quite a few years and I managed to get an A at int 2 maths, something I am extremely proud of. Although it may not be higher, I worked so hard to get that grade and by that point everything id learnt so far in maths actually made sense to me. I left school with a satisfactory feeling about maths, it will never be a subject I love but when the different areas of maths began to click, it felt amazing! However, I consciously felt that my A at int 2 was as far as I could go before my maths anxiety would come crashing back down on me if I attempted higher. To this day I don’t regret my decision.
What I DO regret is not practising my maths since school as all the concepts and fundamental knowledge I learned feel as though they have disappeared from my memory. When I found out about the Discovering maths module, I immediately felt it would be a great elective to take. Although I know it is not about teaching us the maths we may have forgotten about since school, but I feel that by thinking about maths each week due to the workshops and blogs, it will spark my interest again therefor encouraging me to improve my basic maths skills and grow back the confidence I had a few years ago.
Having maths anxiety growing up is something I refuse to let affect me as a teacher. Instead, I will use the empathy and understanding I have for children struggling with maths to help them and build their confidence. If I managed, anyone can! If children grasp even the slightest feeling that their teacher ‘hates’ maths, this will begin to affect them as well. I am going to do further research on maths anxiety and how I can prevent it from happening to children in my class in the future, my next blog will be about what I discover. I am also thankful for the way the discovering maths module is giving me an insight into maths that I have never thought of before.