Toward the end of my junior year, I was chosen to be a math teacher by my mother’s dear friend. Jaden was worrying her mother as he wandered around low B after failing to be in 8th grade advanced math class. And that is why I found myself in Jaden’s house, realizing something that should have been obvious: I do not know how to teach.
In fact, I thought that I was prepared to teach him. As a lover of science and math whose bases are located mostly in the left brain, I was filled with confidence of my mathematical ability and a little excitement to sit in the opposite side of the desk. But it did not take a long time to change my mind. After two hours of class about cube roots, only question I got was “When is this ending?”. Jaden only learned a few shortcuts and refused to understand the actual concept of them.
Teaching him the concept was surely important. But more importantly, I wanted Jaden to just enjoy the deliberation over hard problems and to love the principles behind them as much as I did. At that moment, I could realize the most important features of my favorite teachers: they were eager to teach. They loved what they were teaching, and they wanted to share everything they know with the students. Since I was loving the math, I decided to do the same with Jaden.
Every week, I tried to come up with creative ways to inspire him such as bringing tiles to explain multiplication of polynomials or creating games to practice Pythagorean theorem. And I could witness the gradual increase of Jaden’s enjoyment and interest to the math over time. In fact, I was enjoying the session just as Jaden. Each day, I researched on methods to teach more efficiently and amusingly. I learned how to deal with challenges as I had to teach advanced concepts. Although I was sitting on the other side of the desk, I always was a student who was eager to be a better teacher.
Currently, I am responsible for several more kids as Jaden’s mother recommended me to others. I am also continuing my teaching in Mu Alpha Theta club for high school students. And I am quite confident that everyone agrees that they learn something new in each of my session, including myself as their teacher.
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