Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Confession: I Hate Drawing Graphs


Shocker! Emma, the girl who loves maths, hates drawing graphs. This includes: cumulative frequency curves, histograms, graphs of parametric equations, roots of unity, and those log ones from C2 chapter 10.

Students are always surprised to find out there's an aspect of maths I find boring. They exclaim, "but you're a maths teacher!" Well, the nicer ones do. The not-so-nice ones exclaim, "but you're a massive nerd!"

I have a huge problem with this. Think of your music teacher from school. They loved music, didn't they? Do you think they loved all types of music? Classical, rap, indie, ska, dubstep, One Direction? Probably not. You wouldn't be surprised if you found out there was a genre of music they hated.

Think about an art teacher. They love art. But in their house, would they hang impressionists, surrealists, er... etc... on their walls? Would they love every medium, every era, every subject? Of course not. If they did, you would probably think less of their love of art. "Proper" art lovers usually know what they like, and are dismissive of, or even angered by, artwork they don't like.

So why shouldn't mathematicians be the same? And more importantly, why shouldn't our students see this? I let my students know when we're studying a bit of maths I'm not interested in. Maybe this puts them off it. But who cares? Of course, when my favourite bits come up, I make that known too. I also encourage students to have favourites in maths. I like my students to feel they have a specialism. It makes them feel good when that topic comes up. I want them to see mathematics as being similar to music and art: subjective.

Do you admit to students that there are things in maths you don't enjoy?

Emma x x x


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