It never ceases to amaze me on open house night, when a third grader comes in and tells me that they hate math. It is heartbreaking, really. How can someone so young, come to hate math already?!
I start to wonder…
- Maybe their parents talk about how they were always “bad at math”.
- Does math make sense to them, or is it still very abstract?
- Have they been worksheet/workbook-ed to death?
- Does learning math happen a little slower than other subjects for this student? (Which is totally OK by the way!)
It hurts me a little when kids feel this obsessive need to compare and rank subjects. To be fair adults constantly ask students what their favorite subject is. I think it’s great to find out what our students enjoy the most, but can they really dislike a subject SO much (use the word “hate” even) by the age of 9?
I welcome students like this to my classroom. I try to discover all of my student’s attitudes about math right from the start. Then we dig in. We’re going to make math fun, engaging and REAL. We are going to get messy with math, we’ll feel frustrated at times, and even if it kills me we’re going to leave this school year feeling a bit better about math.