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The challenges of teaching math

There are many teachers who have spent many years wondering what to do in order to improve math education.  One thing is certain: students most definitely appreciate a clear, sound explanation of difficult concepts.  Whenever they feel comfortable enough in class to ask questions, they will experience the greatest amount of growth.  Therefore, a math teacher’s first objective should be to create a safe atmosphere for learning.  This should be an atmosphere in which students are encouraged to express themselves freely, as long as it is also respectfully.

Your class’ tone must be set during the first class.  Herein students should know what is expected from them and what can they expect from their teacher.  This experience should be personalized by taking the time to learn the students’ names.

It is also important for you to be the best teacher that you can be.  You will find this to be very rewarding when you receive positive feedback from your students about the quality of your teaching.  As such, you should try to find a way of seeing math concepts that appeals to students so that they will be able to understand such difficult concepts.  Nevertheless, each class is a new challenge and so you may find some things do not work all of the time.  As a teacher you need to be prepared to use your creativity and intuition to adapt to each class so that you can help the students learn.

As a teacher you should be both dynamic and entertaining so that math does not become boring or tedious for your students.  Taking the initiative to show your students new perspectives that they did not think about before and adjusting your techniques to make these things suitable for your students’ specific needs.  You will soon find that every group of students is different and thus they will need different approaches.  As a teacher, flexibility really is the key.

Of course, your students need to be challenged with achievable tasks.  This will help to build their confidence as they stretch beyond their comfort level.  As a teacher, you should encourage your students to do things that they never thought that they could do.  Herein students will find tremendous satisfaction in achieving something that they did not think that they could ever achieve.  Seeing this, as a teacher, can be truly rewarding.  This is actually one of the biggest payoffs of being a teacher.

As you can see, it take a lot of sensitivity and perceptiveness in order to be a math teacher.  You will encounter students who are taking math classes and have no interest in math at all but they are still being required to take it for their major.  You will also find some students that are very frightened about just how hard math can be.  In both of these instances, you as the teacher must show the student that while math can be challenging, it can be done, all it takes is a little discipline, persistence and hard work.


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