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edu180atl: ian frame 8.21.12

When people hear that I’m a high school math teacher, their reaction is often akin to meeting a pastor. They’re nervous, uncomfortable, or feel awkward. They start describing how much they hated algebra or geometry. They’ll say that they would rather do anything else but sit through another math class. The disheartening part is not that these people don’t enjoy mathematics, but rather that they probably never truly experienced what mathematics is.

As my understanding of this subject deepens, I continue to marvel at its beauty. Mathematics is elegant, fluid, logical, and maybe most importantly, creative. Mathematics is not “watch teacher do, now you do.”  My students entered my class the first day with preconceived notions of what mathematics is. Over the last week they have been challenged to explore problems without a direct route, collaborate as a community, formulate and test their own postulates, and critique each other’s work. It turns out that my students really enjoy this. I really enjoy this.

So I’m being reminded daily that students at every level can and should be doing and creating mathematics. My students are beginning to take pride in their work. Math becomes so much more meaningful when they are the ones discovering a pattern or developing a solution. My students are being exposed to the heart of what mathematics truly is. So what if after an entire year they still don’t enjoy mathematics? Well, I guess I’m learning to be ok with that.

Ian Frame (@mrframemath) is a first year high school math teacher that is passionate about radically changing how students view and feel towards mathematics.

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