Teaching: Jess conquers her fears
1998, after I finally passed my maths GCSE after about the 25th retake, I vowed that I would never do any kind of maths ever again. I made a promise to myself that whatever I would end up doing, it would not involve any kinds of numbers. I’ve stuck to this rule incredibly well, and I’ve find it remarkably easy.
However, today, I taught my first maths lesson and despite everything, nothing bad happened and my eighteen year old self can relax. English I can handle, I’m pretty comfortable with words, I like writing them, I love reading them and I generally talk a lot of rubbish ones.
When I found out that the next lesson I would be giving would involve division and multiplication mild panic set in. I have a feeling that I was too stubborn to actually learn my times tables properly. I refused to listen to the awful tables tape that was on in the car on the way to school, I decided then that I was probably more of a Kylie and Jason person than a 6x6 is 36 person.
Planning for my English class was a joy; playing with words is fun – but planning for maths took me right back to school and the night before some awful exam. Resignation of failure, mild annoyance that my mates were all out when I was stuck at home revising, and then that feeling you have when you’re not really sure what you’re doing.
However I got there in the end and I got to class and I wrote things on the board involving numbers and the children got it. They actually understood what I was talking about and they did the maths. They looked like they were having fun with the awful numbers, I had fun with the awful numbers. I think I understand what prime numbers are now, and guess what – there are some really cool numerical rules that mean you can work out if huge numbers are divisible by six without having to divide them by six. That’s a sentence I never thought I would ever write.
Jessica Lewis – Combination Volunteer
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