I’ve always thought teachers and doctors are underpaid, these people are physically changing and moulding our lives in such a way that effects our future or health. Yet I feel that they’re not appreciated enough for what they do. It’s always the teacher’s fault or the doctor’s fault.
I must admit, in my second year of university, I fully considered pursuing a career as a mathematics teacher. Why? I have no idea, I was very clueless and confused at the time. From the age of 18, I started private tutoring, and till this day I still do. I thoroughly enjoy it. Making a positive change to an individual’s life is truly a rewarding feeling.
So I didn’t end up completing a PGCE after my Mathematics degree. Instead I ended up completing a Masters in Mathematics too, if you ask me was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! Best decision of my life by far. I feel that it all boils down to your passion. If you thoroughly and passionately enjoy what you’re studying, it doesn’t matter how hard it is, YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT! Yes there were times I felt absolutely stupid, but that’s natural if you’re surrounded by academics with years and years of research experience. The truth is, you’re never going to know everything! So just try your best and have faith in yourself.
Although I didn’t end up teaching at a secondary school, I ended up teaching at a university. I realised that I really really enjoy teaching mathematics. Teaching mathematics at a degree level at such a young age was probably the best achievement of my life. I was sharing my passion with others and helping them achieve their goal. The atmosphere of teaching at a university is something else.
I personally feel that a degree isn’t just about getting a job neither it is a measurement of how smart you are. You study to develop yourself as a person. Being in a school, gaining knowledge is obligatory and for this reason students may feel negativity towards their studies. Teaching students of a young age meant there was always challenges and questions such as “why do we need algebra?” , “when will I ever use Pythagoras’ Theorem?” so what do you do when they ask you these things? Simple, explain it. Knowledge is power, knowledge it the reason we drive cars and not ride horses, it is the reason we have smart phones, it is the reason we can make predictions about the weather and it is the reason medicine is developing and we are now able to find cures to many illnesses. So if your student is questioning why you’re learning a particular topic, explain it, break it down, they might not even understand 90% of what you’re trying to explain but some day in the future they will. It’s important to invest the time explaining to them WHY they’re learning something rather than saying “it will be in the exam” because the reason you are learning something is where the motivation arises from. Learning and memorising content for the purpose of passing an exam is just not a good enough motivation.
Another thing I realised is nothing is more important than communicating with students. It’s important to make them feel confident, make them feel like they can achieve what they want (with hard work of course). They’re probably getting enough negativity from their parents, friends etc. It really just takes one person to believe in you, to make that change in your life. Students don’t want to know about how amazing your life is and how you obtained the highest results and blah blah, tell them about your experiences, your struggle, those late nights you stayed up studying, if you could go back, what changes you would have made. Why? Because this is something they can relate to. Humans naturally feel attached to people and situations that they can relate to. Tell them that they have potential, that they can go far in life if they put in the hard work.
Knowledge is not limited to what you learn in a classroom, you can learn something everyday, sometimes without realising it. The worst thing you could do with knowledge is keep it to yourself. No, I don’t particularly mean your knowledge in mathematics, english or science I mean anything. Whether it may be a core subject, your baking and knitting skills, your religious knowledge or even your advice on healthy eating. We should always learn, not just for ourselves but also to help others. If you have siblings and a degree in biomedical science, then spend some time helping them with their science homework. Not because you have to but because that’s your field. Later in life when you have children, teach them. I don’t know about others but even in the future if I am a housewife and busy with married life and children, there would be nothing more rewarding to hear than “my mom taught me this”. I can honestly say this because even though my parents are not so educated, they have taught me certain things that stick in my head like glue.
In year 2 when I came back to school from a holiday in Bangladesh, the first day back at school was a nightmare. Everyone knew their 2 and 3 times tables. I had no idea what on earth times tables were. I went home and cried my eyes out because I felt so stupid. My mom drew pictures and explained it to me. Which I remember very clearly. These are memories I cherish very dearly. The irony of it all is that my mom hates mathematics LOL. My dad taught me how to add fractions, making the denominator the same lol, I was in year 8 and constantly failing my maths exams. Finally I got the hang of it.
From my experiences I have learnt that knowledge is to build yourself as a person, whether it may personal development, in your career, as a sister, mother or even a wife and to help those around you. Bring positivity into the lives of others. Knowledge and success has many layers to it, not just a degree. It’s about your experiences, what you have learnt and how you can implement what you have learnt into your daily life. Success does not have a fixed definition, it’s how you define it. In different aspects of your life it is defined in a different way. Being a successful student, teacher, doctor, then a wife, mother etc, whatever it may be. I hope all of you who managed to get to the end of my super long blog post enjoyed it 🙂 and I wish you all achieve the success you want from life. Hope you’re all having a lovely and productive day 🙂
Lots of love,