I used to believe the common consensus of my classmates: math education beyond elementary level had few applications in real life. However, my perception of math has since changed. It’s not about what you learn, it’s the way math makes you think.
Math is a tool I use to navigate the world around me. In third grade, I learned to think quickly by rehearsing my multiplication tables. In middle school, I explored my creativity by solving math riddles unconventionally. Now in AP Statistics, I sharpen my analytical skill and logical reasoning when designing population studies. Acquiring these skills has its challenges, but I’ve learned to overcome them by developing the right mentality.
Part of the requirement for enrolling in my AP Calculus class involved taking a Stanford online course called “How To Learn Math”. Though it did not teach calculus concepts, the course focused on something of much greater value: maintaining a growth mindset. If one believes they have the capability to improve, then they can, because intelligence is not fixed. With grit and persistence, anyone can achieve the highest levels of math. I was inspired, and wanted to share my knowledge with other students in need of support.
I established “Successful Solutions”, a tutoring club at my high school for students in all levels of math. Along with the tutors I recruited, I work one-on-one with students, making sure they fully understand each step to solving a problem before moving on to the next. By drawing visual aids on the whiteboard such as graphs and number lines, I help students to better comprehend the material.
Several students who attend my club meetings are deaf and hard of hearing. The process of communicating with them through sign language interpreters allows me to develop greater compassion and patience in my teaching. I watch students gain confidence as they overcome challenges, find solutions, and acquire skill sets. The rewarding feeling after each meeting fills my heart with satisfaction and shows me how empowering math can be.
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