I Found One of My Limits: Math
I try to challenge myself to explore the depth and breadth of my practice. Somewhere there is a saying about knowing your limits only when you try to go beyond them – I found one.
Math. I know that math frustrates me. Not because I struggle with the concepts. Instead I become frustrated due to a lack of patience. For some reason I have no tolerance for inaccurate or poorly designed math lessons and even less for the actual teaching of mathematical concepts unless I have something tangible to tie it to. I think this is why I love science. All the math has an application. In traditional math classes this connection to the real world can become tenuous. A month ago I decided this would make a great challenge for myself and I decided to see if I could add a math endorsement at the middle-grade level.
The results. I failed. For the first time in quite a log time I failed at an exam. Last week I took the social studies for the middle level exam and passed extremely well. This week I took the math exam and twenty minutes into the exam became so disgusted with the presentation of math that I started doing what I worry my students do when they are frustrated; I started clicking random answers. (If any of my past or future students read this – yes – I totally get why you guess on exams).
Before the exam I had talked myself into exploring math as a worthwhile project in curriculum development. Ten minutes into the exam I was reconsidering. At the twenty minute mark (when I started clicking randomly) I knew that putting someone with my “math” personality in the role of math teacher might lead some students to open revolt. I will give it another go – preferably after spending some time observing a great math teacher in action.
In the end I can say with certainty that I love teaching science, computers, robotics, language arts, and have considerable affinity for (though untested) teaching social sciences. Still not sure why I feel comfortable sharing computer languages and programming ideas but have such a strange block with regard to mathematics? Perhaps the XKCD comic below explains my paradox well enough.