As we know it some students love Math and others detest the subject. In a classroom there may be mixed emotions towards perceiving Math, however, a good teacher tries to help students who are weak at Math and give them the confidence to befriend numbers. A good Math teacher makes the sessions interactive and the subject easily understandable, such that students look forward to attending class.
Here are a few qualities that a Math teacher must possess:
Confidence About Mathematics
A successful Math teacher has great knowledge of the subject and has acquired formal education in different branches of mathematics such as; algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. The teacher must be well-versed with the new topics introduced by the various educative boards and stay abreast with the changes in the Math curriculum. Especially if the educator is teaching in an IB School across Dubai, UAE, or any other region that has adopted the IB culture, they need to stay on top of everything, as the curriculum is flexible and new amendments are introduced based on the teaching-learning progress within classrooms.
Making Math Interesting
As we have seen before, Math as a subject can be terrifying and it takes extra efforts for the subject teacher to ease the Math anxiety amongst students. This can only be done with apt teaching methodologies. There are a number of EdTech resources available today that motivate children to learn concepts through activities in a fun & engaging manner. Mathletics is one such popular Math platform adopted by schools across the Middle East, including GCC countries. The best part is that, the activities, games, and challenges, are designed by subject experts and are perfectly aligned with the school’s curriculum. One can even introduce hands-on learning by making use of different tangible Math teaching aids like; 2D – 3D shapes, number rods, abacus, and bead chain for counting & multiplication.
An experienced Math educator never gives out the read-made answer but motivates students to work through the problem and arrive at the solutions. Teachers can give cues and hints, but never solve the problem on behalf of the students. This is the only way children develop confidence. The child becomes more comfortable with numbers and gets exhilarated on arriving at the right answer by himself, thereby motivating himself to perform even better with every successive examination or classroom assignment.
Respect Every Learner’s Pace
Each child is unique as students have their own grasping power. Brilliant learners may pick up the steps to a complex theorem in just one Math explanatory session, while others may still struggle after three times of repetition. However, the teacher needs to consider every child’s pace of learning and slow-down or speed-up a particular topic, as per all the students learning capabilities in class. They may also have to extend extra help to children who can’t cope and even have on-on-one sessions after school hours to bring slow paced learners to the same level of understanding, as other students in class.
Don’t Judge Children on Their Mistakes
Making mistakes in Math is a good thing! When children are pressured to solve the problem and arrive at nothing less than ‘The Correct Answer’ they get tensed & may not feel like attempting the sum. A good teacher changes this mindset by explaining to students that solving complex problems is more of a journey, rather than a destination. Even though the child makes a mistake in the fourth step, the steps prior to the one he made a mistake are still correct and if it were an examination, they could even score marks for the steps. Moreover, mistakes are opportunities to grow! If students are too scared to make a mistake, how would they correct themselves and finally accomplish victory over the subject?
So, being a good Math teacher doesn’t mean every student scores a A+ in their exams. A great teacher knows the strengths and weakness of every student and acts as a catalyst to change the mindset of children from looking at Math as a ‘difficult’ subject, to making it very ‘interesting’ and inculcating an analytical & problem-solving approach amongst learners.