Monday, September 15, 2008

Position Paper

For my math curriculum class we were asked to write a position paper. Basically it asked us to write up to 2 pages, double spaced, about how we feel about math, where it comes from, what it means to be a good teacher, etc. I thought that this was a good chance to start to share some of my thoughts as I have started into my Education year. Hopefully it will provide a bit more insight into where I am coming from and who I am. Here is a good chunk of my paper thus far:


For me Mathematics is a language – it is a way to communicate some very complicated (and some very simple) aspects of our world in a logical and beautiful way. It can definitely be difficult to relate to another person who has a lot of trouble understand math and the reasons it is taught, but everyone has something that they don’t “want” to learn so that is what I try to think about. Mathematics is important to be taught throughout secondary school because it relates to so many careers. Many students that struggle throughout adolescents may find themselves in some kind of trade – and trades require calculations, spatial understanding, geometry, and/or problem solving skills. Further to that, learning how to problem solve in a math class has a great effect on students and their ability to problem solve in their daily lives.

Through my experiences I have found that, in general, secondary school students are not very fond of their math classes. There are always a few students that like the material being taught and want to further their knowledge – but even most of those that are there by choice in Grade 12 just want to get the credit so that they can be accepted into their program of choice in College or University. At least these students will have a drive to learn, just maybe not the desire to be educated that a teacher could hope for. The most important group is probably the one that does not understand why they have to continue taking math and does not want to be in the class. This is a majority of applied courses and even parts of the academic ones. I believe that these students did not receive the support that they needed at some point in their elementary years causing them to fall behind. At this point it is easy for a student’s self-confidence to falter and not know how to get it back. This is why I feel it is important to find the route of a student’s weakness and try to bring that confidence back up.

It takes a very patient person to be a teacher. It takes an even more patient person to teach something like math or any science – the basic concepts must be taught and understood well before one can move on, while, for example, in a history class if one does not understand the year 1899 this will not necessarily prevent one from understanding 1900. A good math teacher can find more than one way to explain a concept, creates a positive learning environment, and finds ways to help the students relate to the material. From what I have seen throughout my life it is really easy to fall into a pattern of using lecture style lessons in math classes and to forget that one needs to make it interesting and try different methods to get things across.


  1. This is so true! Finding different teaching styles and actually discussing how all the math relates to everyday life is soo important. I can't wait to sit in one of your classes Lye! :P