Ms. Math Teacher was sitting in the teacher's cafe yesterday, as usual, doing school work. It seems a math teacher's job is never done. Ms. Math Teacher usually has her I-pod in her ears so she can work without distraction, but had forgotten to put them in on this day.
Sitting at the next table was Mr. Whine who was enjoying his lunch of cheese and crackers. Mr. Whine is a brilliant liberal arts teacher and a fantastic educator and he never has to work during his lunch period. His is usually pontificating on some topic or another, and while Ms. Math enjoys listening in, she needs the I-pod so she can turn him off and concentrate on getting her work done.
Mr. Whine was talking about his child today. He is a parent totally enamored by his child. Ms. Math Teacher has met the child and totally agrees with his assessment. This period, Mr. Whine was whining about the child's math. He went on and on about trapezoids and triangles and other shapes he has no use for. At that point, Ms. Math Teacher lost it.
"Mr. Whine, it is parents like you that make it hard for math teachers and the children they are teaching. Every year, parents come to school and when I tell them their child is struggling in the class, they respond with 'I always had trouble in math too.'"In other words, it is fine for the kid to struggle in math. It is no big deal to get a low grade or fail math because the parent failed math too.
Mr. Whine is a learned man. He is probably much brighter than Ms. Math Teacher. I am sure he would not accept his child not being able to read or write, yet he feels as long as his child is competent enough in the four basic operations, plus fractions, decimals and percents, she knows all the math she will ever need. I'm not saying that a parent's attitude will make everyone love math, but a more positive approach to the subject sure might help. Besides, at the moment, this child loves math and is doing quite well. An attitude like Mr. Whine's may turn the child off to math.