Math. Some people love it. Some people hate it. But if you want to survive middle school, you’ll need to find your way through it. Why is there such a clear difference between people who like math and those who don’t? There are theories floating around which say that some people are naturally predisposed to being good at math which makes them enjoy it. I know there is a lot of truth to this. I personally love art and writing and have nightmares about trigonometry. Yet my brother loves calculus and has nightmares about going to a museum! But I think there is more to the story than just the way we were born.
From my own experience, I know that I liked math better in sixth grade than I did in seventh. I was learning basic math in both cases. The only difference was that I had a great teacher in seventh grade (Mr. Williams) and not in sixth. It’s amazing what a difference a teacher can make. Mr. Williams had a way of making math come alive. He would frequently point out how what we were learning applied to real life situations, such as how it might be used in business finance.
One time he actually went around and asked each of us to tell him a profession we were thinking of going into when we graduated. He went through all of them one by and explained how you’ll need to know math to be your best at that field. That of course speaks a lot to the value of a great teacher in general, but I’ll leave that for another blog post.
This brings me to the topic of math tutoring. I didn’t do too well in sixth grade math. What if I could have had someone like Mr. Williams helping me out after school in sixth grade? I have no doubt I would’ve seen a major improvement in my test scores and my self esteem. That’s the power of a math tutor. Sometimes the greatest teacher in the world can’t help a student who faces problems outside of the classroom which requires him or her to need a little more one-on-one time.
When you go looking for a math or algebra tutor, believe it or not, you don’t need the most knowledgeable mathematician in the world. What’s more important is their ability to adapt the way they teach to the way you learn. It can be as simple as just needing someone to help them focus – often tutors don’t need to demonstrate the solution for remarkably difficult math problems, they just need to help the student gain the confidence and focus needed to solve it for themselves.
You might like audio learning instead of visual learning. You might like business math examples instead of sports examples. The beauty of a good math tutor is they can get to know you personally and tailor their style to the exact way you learn best. It might be hard to believe, but effective math tutoring might just make something as treacherous as calculus fun!