What kind of math teacher am I? Let me start by telling you why I love math, and then feel free to explore:
Why I love math...
Every math teacher has a slightly different reason for why they want to teach math, but I have three reasons why I am passionate about math:
- Math is FUN! When you realize that math can be viewed as a series of puzzles, of challenges that can be conquered using persistence and logic, then math becomes fun. Just like any video game, math has certain rules and skills that must be mastered in ordered to progress to higher levels, but achieving that mastery does not have to be drudgery. Each level of mathematics has its own mysteries, and approaching math through that mindset reveals that math is actually something more magical and less mundane.
- Math is USEFUL! Math is a foundational skill for life. We need math to manage everything from our personal finances to building a space station. We use math to model the physical world around us and to interpret the data we gather about it. In some situations, math can be used to make powerful predictions. In others, it proves that events are random and teaches us to not confuse correlation with causality. In the past, math has helped power technological revolutions, and we know that math provides tools our students will need in the future.
- Math is POWER! The truth is that some people who do understand math use their math skills to take advantage of those who do not understand math. From predatory lending practices to manipulative uses of big data, math is too often used to oppress the poor and reinforce bias in our society. But math can be used for liberation as well. I want our students to be able to defend themselves against the tricks and schemes that will be used against them when they enter the 'real world.' I also want to help them realize how math can be used to tackle the more complex issues of our society -- such as using statistics to reveal bias or using logic to prove how a particular funding formula skews its benefits to one group rather than another. I believe we have a responsibility to arm our students today with all the tools math has to offer so that we can have a more just world tomorrow.