Hopefully this video by Angela Lee Duckworth hits home.
I think we can agree that today’s society is all about instant gratification. The latest news cycle can be viewed at a touch of a button. If my daughter wants to watch her favorite cartoon we can instantaneously pull it up on our phones. That song I just heard can be mine at a touch of a button. It’s our modern world. Very few things require patience.
Math still remains virtually untouched. As much as YouTube and Kahn Academy has enhanced our ability to learn, mastery only comes from the daily grind of practice. Cramming the night before might bail a student out for the next day’s test, but it won’t help when you need to apply it to a new concept in two weeks. Math is one of our last disciplines where one needs some elbow grease and a can-do attitude. Embrace math for what it can help develop, not for the means to end. My favorite part of teaching are the countless times students have solved problems that couldn’t previously have imagined. Does it take hard work? Yes. Is it a grind? Yes. Can you do things that you never thought possible before? Yes. Like life, you get from math what you put into it.
The vast majority of adults pay someone else to get their taxes done. There are those that do their taxes on their own. There are those that avoid taxes completely and have to suffer the consequences. You also have accountants. They have made a profession out of helping people with their taxes. The point is, taxes are inevitable. High school math is pretty much the same thing… just for teenagers. Whether one likes it or dislikes it, can do it on their own or has to hire outside help to survive, the point is, we must get through it. Talk to someone about the math classes they took in school and you won’t hear, “I didn’t have to take math!” Try asking someone about taxes and you won’t hear “I don’t have to pay them!” Like taxes, the journey through high school math is exactly what we make it out to be. For some it’s just a means to an end. For others it changes their whole life because it becomes the foundation for their profession.