Here’s a confession of mine: I’ve never really thought of myself as ‘good at math.’ Yep, I’m a high school math teacher proclaiming my discontent with my mathematical abilities. Ironic? Sad? Make you want to hide your children? Read on, it’s not as bad as you think.
Being a math teacher was a second career for me, as my undergraduate degree is in accounting. I dabbled in a minor in mathematics while at the University of Iowa but let a ‘C’ in Linear Algebra from a cold professor change my trajectory for the next 4 years. When I went to graduate school to earn my masters in Mathematics Education, I was always intimidated by the math undergrads who were much more polished and current on mathematical theory. Recently I came across this article which shed some light onto what often happens with girls in areas like mathematics. In short, women tend to give up on themselves more quickly because of their strong inner voice. I know that I was never discouraged from pursuing difficult challenges by my parents, especially academically. I came from a family that was very supportive of my education. It was my own inner-voice telling me that I wasn’t as good at pure mathematics, which was the lingering after effect of that C grade.
Recently, Rafranz Davis wrote a blog post about the transformation of twitter admiration into palatable inspiration. This post was timely for me since as summer conference season reaches its peak, I’ll be attending Twitter Math Camp starting on Thursday with dozens of other math tweeps with whom I’ve admired and been inspired by. These positive interactions have projected me to a place where I’m comfortable with my mathematical abilities and completely humbled by my ability to participate with such a wonderful group of educators across social media.