I love math. I love its simplicity, its flow, its process, its challenge, its structure. I love that it teaches me patience, perseverance, and humility. I love that I sometimes wake in the middle of the night with a solution to a taxing problem or a new approach to teaching a challenging topic.
When I share this love with my students, most of them look at me with raised eyebrows! Unfortunately the emotion most associated with math is not love, it is fear; fear of not understanding, fear of challenge, fear of failure, fear of humiliation. I hope to teach my students that it is a good thing to make mistakes and that it is okay to be wrong. I want my students to realize that it is through hardship that we grow, through struggle that we appreciate success, and that through failure we learn what it is to be truly human. Above all else, I want to encourage them to believe in themselves and to know that their self-worth is not determined by the grade on a math test.
I hope they will come to understand that math is about process and patience, about determination, about perseverance, about picking oneself up and dusting oneself off when one falls down, about knowing that there will always be another math problem to solve, another riddle to bury oneself in, another challenge to face. As we travel this road together, I will teach accelerated math to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, and math concepts to 8th graders.