Math is not an easy subject and teachers must recognise the frustration of students and gracefully answer every question they have. But in reality, some teachers get flustered and brush aside certain questions since they do not have a ready-made response to their students.
As educators, we must first understand where the question is coming from, and even if there are slight deviations in students’ questions. I have found that these questions come from the same place – frustration.
So, here are some of my suggestions on who to tackle these questions, which in my experience has worked numerous times.
Math teachers should tell their students that specific topics like percentages, proportions, geometry, and so on can be used outside the classroom. However, some concepts like simplifying expressions, find the slope of a line, and similar topics may have little use outside the classroom, but this doesn’t mean they are no longer important. In fact, these concepts can help us learn more about the world around us as well as enhancing problem solving skills and exercising different areas of our brains.
It is a reasonable expectation of students that they own calculators and bring them to every class. If this is not possible, reasons must be examined and a solution found.
So, when a student asks why they are struggling with maths, we must tell them to conduct a self-assessment to determine the reason why they get easily distracted. We should also give them pointers or words of encouragement to keep them motivated. It could be a good idea for the teacher to try and work one-on-one with the student to pin point the moment of missed understanding and clarify any gaps in knowledge. If this is not possible, a tutor may be a great option.
You should also provide them a glimpse of your day to day activities, so they’ll know that becoming a maths teacher is not only a noble profession but also an enjoyable one. This will help open their minds to different career options and preferences of individuals.
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