Of all my education-related classes this semester, there is only one that asked all the students to write about why we wish to be teachers: my math class. Specifically, the class is titled: Mathematics for the Teacher. It is a content class, not a methodology class. We are being taught mathematics that we will teach to our students. This class is about more than the process of mathematics. It is about philosophical mathematics and the application of real, useful mathematics for the elementary student. Part of our learning is to discuss issues related to mathematics. Here are the questions that we are required to write about:
- Why do you want to be a teacher?
- What should 3rd and 4th grade students know and be able to do?
- Should students be able to use a calculator in elementary school?
- What is the role of the teacher?
- Write about the “Dumbing” of Amercia
- Respond to these quotes by British mathematician, W.W. Sawyer:
"The depressing thing about arithmetic badly taught is that it destroys a child's intellect and, to some extent, his/her integrity."
"Before they are taught arithmetic, children will not give their assent to utter nonsense; afterwards they will."
"Instead of looking at things and thinking about them, they will make wild guesses in the hopes of pleasing the teacher."
I haven’t quite formulated the answers yet. That should come as my educational path continues. So you can count on me answering these questions as time moves along. As much as I dread arithmetic, and it pains me to even think about looking at the monthly bills and computing and reconciling all of that, I am looking forward to this class. I think, just based on the first class, that it will not only challenge me, but help me really learn the concepts of mathematics and not so much the process.