Stella' s Tutoring
Stella' s Tutoring
There is a quote I have come to admire, purpose to live by, and apply to my teaching; the quote is "I come not to seek yours, but you." Seems like an odd mantra doesn't it, for a teacher at least, but I believe it is perfectly fitting. As a teacher I have one objective, and that is to better my students. For me, this quote implies that I am not after what my students can do for me, but what I as an educator can do for my students. I am not after looking like the best teacher, or my own...
There is a quote I have come to admire, purpose to live by, and apply to my teaching; the quote is "I come not to seek yours, but you." Seems like an odd mantra doesn't it, for a teacher at least, but I believe it is perfectly fitting. As a teacher I have one objective, and that is to better my students. For me, this quote implies that I am not after what my students can do for me, but what I as an educator can do for my students. I am not after looking like the best teacher, or my own personal stats, but making sure that each student leaves my class a bit more assured with math then when they came in. The first day of my Masters, at Teachers College, Columbia University, I thought I knew what it meant to be an educator; but to say I was wrong would be an understatement. I understood how I learned, what worked for me, but as an educator I had soon come to learn that many of my students wouldn't learn as I learned and I would have to adapt. There wasn't going to be a one size fits all model, and initially that scared me. I just knew that math is essential. It is a language that transcends all sciences, majors and is one of the most used tools in our society. This was something I was going to have to communicate to my students, while educating them as well.
I remember teaching a topic on square roots, and by extension, operations with radicals. I had learned it the traditional way; if you're trying to find the square root of number you should find an integer that when multiplied by itself gives you the number under the radical. I accepted that, didn't ask why and just kept it moving. That was not the case when I taught it. My students wanted to know why that worked, and wouldn't accept the response that "it just does." It is quite funny, the huge argument that went on with respect to conceptual understanding, when most students generally already want to know the why when it comes to math. So, there we went, through a fruitful conversation on where the name square root even originates from. How the number under the radical can reflect the area of a square, and that the square root reflects the length of one side of that square. Students were then recalling their knowledge of squares and how all sides are equal, and to find the area of a square is length times width; it was incredible. Finding the square root was no longer a mechanical thing, students understood, could discuss, they were mathematicians. It then hit me that this was my goal, my drive. I wanted everyone of my students to leave my course, with the confidence and self-acceptance that they were mathematicians.
Many students would never consider themselves to be a mathematician, because they either feel they're not smart enough or they don't plan on purposing a career in pure mathematics. They couldn't comprehend that learning math and using it, even in the smallest way, made them one. Carl Boyer wrote "[m]athematics is as much an aspect of culture as it is a collection of algorithms," which just sums up its importance. Mathematics is so widely hated, that if I can just help my students hate it a little less, and accept how vital it is, I have done my job.
If you want someone who will believe in you, and help you achieve your goal, then book a lesson with me!
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