By Nancy Lee
Math has never been my forte. All through my early years of school, I would get as far as reading the problem, then my mind would just shut down. My mom loved math and she loved to learn. There would be many late nights where she was determined to figure out how to solve a complicated problem. The next day, she would try to show me how she came up with the answer. I would try to understand, but I just had the attitude math is dumb. My pessimistic attitude, led me and my mom to frustration and lots of unpleasant disagreement. So unpleasant that I wish I could just turn back time now that I finally understand what she was trying to show me. After I received my Associates, I didn’t have the desire to go back to school. My plan was to try to avoid math as best as I could for the rest of my life. Of course, this was a hard plan to follow and the Lord had other plans for me. I was to become a teacher. I am back in school, I have six months left, and there are several tests and math classes that are required for my major. Last year, I had an experience that changed my negative attitude towards math. I needed to take two major math tests. I remember specifically, that after a long night of studying, I went and took one of the tests and failed. After I threw my books on the ground and was feeling defeated, a thought came almost instantly to me. Do you want to just know this just to get by with a good grade? Or do you want to learn it well enough so you can apply it in your life and help your students? My attitude towards math has been different since then. I not only looked at the problems I had wrong I understood why they were wrong. I went a couple of days later to take it again. I got an A missing only one problem. Math can still be frustrating and overwhelming at times because it is very fast pace. But I go back to the day where the thought, do you want to learn it well enough so you can apply it in your life and help your students always comes back to me. I have no doubt that my mom is helping me through this. It isn’t about the grade you get, it is about how hard you work and how you can learn from your mistakes. It is about how I can help my students learn from their mistakes. I think of what Thomas Edison said and it helps me persevere. One of his many famous quotes that I like is, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” My new goal is to become an effective teacher. I now know that I can’t become one, if I don’t experience failure and frustration myself. I want to implement perseverance in my classroom. I want my students to know that they haven’t failed until they stop trying.