This year I have chosen the elective titled “Discovering Mathematics”. I have taken a piece of my previous blog post about maths and will write about why I think I will enjoy this elective so much.
“Yes, the M word… Maths. Maths is a subject which I have never had huge confidence in so knowing that on Wednesday I had to sit in a workshop all about my most dreaded subject was something that I was really not looking forward to. I was actually very nervous. I had this image in my head of being sat in groups and working out maths problems in a scary kind of silence. But, that was not the case at all.
Throughout my time at primary school I hugely lacked in confidence when it came to maths. Ialways remember being that child who was sat beside a pupil, who I always thought, was smarter than me and felt I needed to look at their answers just so I didn’t get in trouble for not completing the work or having too many wrong answers. Of course this was not the case. The teacher I had would always give me the support I needed- it was just a fear of being embarrassed that I always seemed to have.
Moving on to secondary school- maths was still the subject I dreaded. And this time, it was worse in my mind because ‘high school maths is much worse and harder than primary school maths.’ Even just the little thing of having to buy a scientific calculator rather than just a normal one seemed daunting enough. However, in first year I was put into the middle set which was almost a confidence boost. Although I wasn’t in the top group, I wasn’t in the bottom one either.
I had a teacher called Miss McCutcheon and she managed to entirely change my view on maths. She made me, and my whole class, understand that maths is not something that you should be scared of and always made lessons enjoyable. She was a teacher who believed in every single one of her pupils and knew that they would succeed. In third and fourth year I was put into the middle set again aiming for an Intermediate 2 in maths. I feel this is when my maths anxiety returned because I knew I was going to be officially assessed on my mathematical knowledge. I had a different teacher whose teaching style was different from Miss McCutcheon’s, but she took a maths revision class after school on a Thursday. This was great as I could still rely on her for support and that positive push I needed. When teaching maths, I want to be as motivational and encouraging as she was for me throughout my whole time at high school. In fourth year I obtained a C in maths. The fact I’d passed was an absolute miracle in my eyes, but I knew I needed at least a B to get into university. So, I did Intermediate 2 maths again in 5th year, but this time I managed to get an A.”
This was definitely one of my greatest achievements during school. I never thought I could say that I had an A in maths and I couldn’t have done that without the support of my teacher and when I am a teacher I want to be as understanding as her when it comes to dealing with pupils’ anxieties in maths and all other aspects of the curriculum.
From my previous experiences with maths I think that choosing the Discovering Mathematics elective will greatly benefit me. The course will continually show us maths in aspects of everyday life and we will discover how to include maths in daily activities.
The elective aims to make us, enquiring practitioners and student teachers, reflect on and be able to examine a variety of topics within mathematics. And, maybe even make maths enjoyable?!
Therefore, I am excited to start this elective and I hope you will enjoy reading my blog posts and watch me progress with my understanding and hopefully see me say that I love maths!
Boyle, C. (2016) ‘The ‘M’ Word’, My ePortfolio- Carys Boyle, 17 January 2016. Available at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/myeportfoliocb/2016/01/17/the-m-word// (Accessed: 13 September 2016)