I recently attended my first couple of maths inputs and I would be completely lying if I said that the thought of them previously did not make me feel nervous, anxious and quite frankly down right scared. My relationship with maths for as long as I can remember has never been great. I just scraped by in maths and done what I had to do. Without a doubt I was one of many that suffered with the notorious – maths anxiety.
I can trace my fear of maths all the way back to primary school and from then it has just continued to grow stronger, taking my confidence in maths and numeracy with it. During my primary school days I can specifically remember never putting my hand up to answer a question, never getting involved in maths tasks and whenever I heard the words “we are playing around the world” I could instantly feel the lump in my throat. My dislike of maths continued well into high school where I remained completely uninvolved and just done the bare minimum that was required. As a result my attitude towards maths was always either “I don’t like it!” or “I cant do it!”. However, looking back on this I now know that that wasn’t the case it wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, it was that I didn’t want to try because I didn’t believe I was capable.
Despite this, throughout the years of trying to overcome my case of maths anxiety, I cannot say I am completely over it. However, I feel that the introductory maths input has really helped me to change my attitude as well as slightly boosted my confidence in teaching maths. I think this is because it presented maths in a way in which I had never previously thought about. A prime example of this is a quote by Ollerton (2003) mentions that “Mathematics is beautiful, intriguing, elegant, logical, amazing and mind-blowing; a language and a set of systems and structures used to make sense of and describe the physical and natural world”. Originally I was completely shocked by this statement as I would never have personally described mathematics as intriguing, never mind beautiful or elegant. However, after the input with Tara and after witnessing her enthusiasm for her subject I can quite happily say that my opinion of maths is slowly changing for the better and I can only hope that it will continue to do so until I feel a sense of complete confidence in my own ability and my teaching of mathematics!