Growing up, I always had a fondness (sometimes a great distaste) for any kind of math. All kinds of math. I loved the idea that I was learning how to do a new puzzle everyday that all builds to something bigger at the end. The idea that it all begins with 2+2 and ends with an epic mathematical equation that only so many people can solve, blows my mind. Now thats not saying that I am very good at it or it is my favorite subject (literature actually is) but I am saying that I have a spot for it in my heart.Order now
One of the earliest memories I have about math, is actually using blocks in Kindergarten. The blocks were given to us as a counting manipulative. The blocks were yellow and divided into groups of ones (single block), tens (strips) and hundreds (cube). I particularly remember loving the fact that I actually got to play with blocks while learning. This is the single moment that brought on my fondness for math. Of course, my most fondest memory in math involves chocolate. The setting is Mrs. Steels fourth grade class.
As we walk back in from recess, we notice there are paper plates on each of the desk. As we begin to sit down, Mrs. Steel walks around the room scooping chocolate frosting onto the plates. The premise was, she would stand up in front of the class and ask a math problem. We, the students, had to draw the answer in the frosting and if we were correct, we were able to lick our fingers. I find that to be a genius and exciting activity. All through my time in math classes, I was always maintained an average grade, although there were some below average grades sometimes.
I always felt math was my weakest subject even though I enjoyed it. And I mean all parts of math, from Geometry, fractions all the way to algebra. Most of it I can blame on myself but some of the blame has to be put on a few of the teachers I have had. For instance, Mrs. Potvin, my third grade math teacher. She was a great teacher of other subjects such as reading and social studies, but math, not so much. It did not help that she had a short temper and to me, felt like she despised being asked questions. When a question was asked, she responded with an annoyed attitude.
Third graders have a lot of questions, me particularly. One day we were going over my nemesis, (to this day) fractions. I had asked one too many questions trying to understand what it was she was trying to teach us. Her response was, Sam, save your questions for after school tutoring. Ill send a note home to your parents to recommend it. This was said in front of everyone of course and I instantly became embarrassed. A teacher is a person who needs to help guide children/adolescents to the knowledge and not shoot them down when they are working their way there.
A couple of years later, when I entered the fifth grade, I actually had to have a private tutor. She was my actual teacher and I would stay after Monday, Wednesday and sometimes Friday. Mrs. Smith would explain in greater detail for me just what it was she was teaching that day. She was fantastic at what she did. She explained to me the different ways to go about solving the problems (much like what Dr. Rose taught us this semester) and once she saw that one method was breaking through to me, she would focus on it and explain off that method.
All of my teachers will always be memorable to me but my high school algebra teacher, Mr. Magee is my most unforgettable math teachers. He was an older gentleman who lived for math. Math was his one and only passion in life. He had this enormous bookshelf in the corner of the classroom filled with all sorts of mathematician biographies, books filled with math problems and even novels about math. He always highly encouraged us to borrow them. He had an amazing personality. His method of teaching was wonderful.
He would blend real life events and make them relate to what section we were currently learning. Mr. Magee had a way of incorporating humor into most things as well. Anything he could had a story or humor to, he would do all for the benefit of us. He wanted us to enjoy math and if he couldnt get us to enjoy it, he wanted us to at least remember what was said. That being said, if for some reason, I found myself sitting in the hot seat on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Regis Philbin asks me an impossible math question, I would hands down use my life line to phone Mr.
Magee. Throughout my time in school (going on 15 years now) I have always been a read/write kind of learner. I believe me being the avid reader I am helped me become the type of learner I am today. I have always read everything in the chapters we went over in classes to help me try and retain my information. I also need to write down as much as I can get to when listening to my teachers/professors. As for the environment around me, I feel I learn the best by myself and nothing to distract me; i. e. phone, computer or the current book I might be reading.
Since I am still growing up, math is still has a special spot in my heart and probably always will. It is a necessity of life to be able to any kind of math. We use it in almost, if not all, every day tasks. I will admit again and again, math is not my strongest subject and never will but I know that once I become my dream job of an elementary teacher, I will most likely need to be required to teach future generations of students math. It will be my job, just like Mr. Magee and Mrs Potvin to teach them as best as I can and to help them try and enjoy what it is I am teaching them over the years.