Saturday, August 27, 2016

Why do you want to be a math teacher?

Each fall I teach the mathematics (education) course, Geometry for Teachers. For students in our secondary certification program, this is usually the first mathematics education course that they take.  On the first day of class every fall semester, I assign their first journal entry, which asks them to respond to the question, “Why do you want to be a math teacher?”

Their responses are always the highlight of that first week of classes as I feel like I get to know each of them better and I get hope for our future.  Below I have created a “top ten” list from their most common reasons.
Top Ten Reasons #Math261 Students want to be a Math Teacher
1.    Be a role model for students and help them become better people.
2.    Help people succeed.
3.    Carry on my love of math to others.
4.    Challenge my students.
5.    Make math interesting.
6.    Had a positive math experience in high school and want other students to have that same opportunity.
7.    Get to work with kids of all ages every day.
8.    Be a part of improving education.
9.    Help build students’ confidence in their ability to do mathematics.
10. Change society’s attitude towards mathematics.

I also wanted to share some specific quotes from their responses that stood out to me.
·         “I had never thought that my sharing knowledge and understanding of math could change a student’s life so much.”
·         “All in all, I want to be a math teacher because I love math and teaching is the best way in which I feel I could use utilize my strengths to make a significant contribution to society.”
·         “I want to teach students how to problem solve so that no matter what career they choose, they can use the skills that were developed in my classroom.”
·         “My goal is to find a way to challenge my students, make the subject understandable, present the topic with useful everyday occurrences, and, most importantly, make math interesting.”

And now you know why I get hope when I read these. These young people are altruistic and passionate about their career choice.  They have a true love for mathematics and want to share that with others.  Even though I am the “teacher” of this course, I know that I am going to learn a lot from them!