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Not so well in math but

  1. May 13, 2008 #1
    Hi wanted to know if i should risk studying to become a math teacher, i mean i have always been fascinated by numbers but i was not good in it, well i know that i am good in Algebra but not good with geomatry, when i was in 11th grade i failed calculus, but i liked it. Should i become a math teacher and just keep studying or should i just not be one and study something not in math, though i love math. I wanted to major in CS or CE but i think being a math teacher is more easier, and are their alot of girls in CS or CE???? Just to note i am a girl. If anyone is curious :blushing:
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  3. May 13, 2008 #2


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    do what you love. i got a D- in calc 2 as a college freshman, and now i am a math prof in college. i have enjoyed it. i worked hard to overcome my failures and finally did so. in fact i became pretty decent at it.
  4. May 13, 2008 #3


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    Yes, you should risk studying to become a Math teacher unless you do not do well enough, and in case of not doing well enough, you need/should change to a different goal. Study other courses which USE mathematics also. Being a Math teacher is NOT easier than teaching some other subject areas. Just watch what happens in an introductory algebra course of mostly first-time algebra students. If you yourself have the chance to repeat and study beyond Introductory Algebra, you may find that Intro Algebra seems fairly easy - but those beginning students often will find it very confusing and difficult.

    You should soon learn the difference between STUDYING mathematics and USING IT AS A TOOL. If you change your goal away from studying to be a Math teacher, you may still find you have enough skill and understanding to apply Mathematics in other areas. Ultimately, you still could find yourself becoming a Mathematics teacher, even if your major field were not Mathematics. (depends how many and what kind of courses you complete).
  5. May 14, 2008 #4
    My professor told me something profound. Those that struggle early on in a subject, often make the best teachers. They often understand much better where a student might struggle, while another person that breezed through the course without a thought will probably struggle to relate to those who don't understand so well. If you really want to be a math professor, then I suggest going for it. I wouldn't worry so much how well you did in high school, but make sure you do well in college.
  6. May 14, 2008 #5
    This may not mean much because I am still pretty young and don't know what I'm talking about, but your fascination with numbers, if genuine, should take you a lot further than one of those kids in your Calc class that got an easy 5 but doesn't really like math (and for some unknown reason is going into Math Education anyway.) I came awfully close to failing Calculus last year, but I worked extremely hard and managed to get a 5. This year I've taken a 2 semester honors Calculus class and things have just been getting easier for me. While a lot of people complained about how easy their AP class was comparatively, things just started clicking a lot faster for me and I got an A with only moderate amounts of study and plenty of time for independent study. One edge you can have over almost everyone else in introductory courses is actually enjoy the material. This makes learning it much easier and certainly more enjoyable.
  7. May 14, 2008 #6
    It really makes you wonder if there's not a practical way to escape the "study topic for X weeks then get graded and move on, while studying N other topics" model. I think that it's crap and that the only things going for it is that it's time-definite and works with poor teacher ratios. The problem is, how to fix it...the computer fad pops up to one degree or another fairly often, but I don't see it coming close to replacing a good teacher/mentor relationship any time approaching soon.

    But it is encouraging. If you're patient and stubborn about making progress towards something you want to attain...I suppose the main thing is finding out what you love and what your priorities are, then finding a way to get closer to it. There's usually a way to keep moving forward if you want it badly enough.
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  8. May 15, 2008 #7

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    I was just the opposite. For a long time I refused to believe that geometry was "real math" because it was so simple and obvious. Only algebra could be real math because it was painful. :biggrin:
    Why do you think that happened? How was your teacher? Something I learned over the years is that math teachers vary a great deal in their abilities.

    I had this really mean college algebra teacher that scared me off. She started the first day of class by saying, "in two weeks, one-third of you will be gone. After the mid-term, half of you will be gone." And she would say really insulting things like "do you all know how to count to ten? Let's try it together." I dropped the course. Quickly.

    Years later, I had this really wonderful algebra teacher in a night school class. He was so great, we would beg him to stay late and teach us more. Anyway, this teacher changed my life. Because of him, I went on to study calculus and statistics (and kicked some butt in those courses!), and ended up in a bachelor of science program at a top university.

    You could be that person for somebody (or for many people), like he was for me. You'll know where people get stuck, where things aren't obvious. And you'll know how to make it fun.

    I think you should keep at it.:approve:
  9. May 15, 2008 #8
    Wow thanks that is real encouraging, that just made me feel alot better. Yeah i want to be that teacher that helps student who are struggling, i know i do at times. :)
  10. May 16, 2008 #9

    I have this thought, the fact that you were even enrolled in a calculus class in 11th grade says a great deal about your potential. You are a rarity (if you live in the US) to even take calculus in high school at all. Struggling with something is only going to make you a better teacher. If it came easily to you I think it less likely that you would work as hard conveying the information in a variety of ways to your students..
    Good physicians with compassion and excellent bedside manner are often ordinary or even struggle in med school. (I was in the medical field for many years). At one time I lived in the Baltimore area and worked amongst serident and attending physicians from John Hopkins University Medical School and Harvard etc. Brightest of the bright in their profession.
    My feeling is this I might want the brilliant genius type to diagnose my bizarre one in a million illness but I want the humanitarian in it "for the reward of serving mankind" to take care of my everyday ills or my child with chickenpox.
    In additon there are many resources to help you get through a difficult spot in a challenging course. Ask yourself, was my attention on my crush in the adjacent row or missing my friend who moved away to a different state? Was that the year you worked 24 hours a week flipping burgers at Mickey D's to pay for your new car?
    Life changes and so have you, you are older, wiser and have a better idea what you are getting into now. I say go for what makes you happy and gives you a reason to put your feet on the floor every morning.
    So you are a girl, I say it it really should not affect your decision
    The greatest obstacles in life are generally not the ones in front of us but are the obstacles that reside between our ears
    I am a dad and sorry I got all preachy and started giving unsolicited advice
    Best wishes
  11. May 16, 2008 #10
    No its good too take good advice. Thanks!
  12. May 17, 2008 #11
    I haven't read all the posts, but here are some ideas:

    Your first year of college doesn't really matter (you will be taking roughly the same classes no matter what you major in). The Math you have to take as a Math Education major will probably be much easier to deal with than that of an Engineering Major. Also, you don't need to be great at math to be a great math teacher: my personal opinion is that a great teacher is one that cares about their students and puts in the time/effort to help their students in every way possible. And finally, once you have taken a bunch of college math classes, high school math will make a lot more sense :smile:
  13. May 18, 2008 #12
    Don't be so quick to conclude that you lack proficiency in math. I was "bad at math" in high school; I failed algebra, even. But now I'm majoring in the stuff, and I never get anything lower than a B.

    Overcoming the learning curve of algebra and developing the proverbial "brain muscles" for it was probably the toughest part for me. After that, I think, the trick is to remain focused, not be intimidated by new concepts (as that can seriously ruin your focus), understand why something confuses you, and ask yourself the right questions.

    Also, as others have said, people who once struggled in math can make some of the greatest teachers, as they will have a greater understanding as to why certain topics are confusing to some of their students.
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