Sometimes, the students are not the problem. The problem is the combination of the system that is inflexible on one side, and parents who are convinced that their kids are geniuses and the teachers are spiteful babysitters. In times like these, it is very difficult to remember the point of teaching math. You might even think that you don’t matter. Nothing can be further from the truth and we’ll tell you why.
You Are Influencing Young People
Think about it. It’s not just your subject that these kids and adults pick up on. It is your attitude toward life and teaching. If you are an optimist, your students will receive some of that energy. If you are a hard worker and show that you appreciate hard work, they will respect you for it and leave the school searching for those values in the outside world.
It’s a Challenge
Quitters never win and winners never quit. No matter how high the odds are stacked against you, you persevere. There are no teachers to whom this applies more than math teachers. Not everyone can come out a winner in the world of education.
Effect on Society
Here’s the thing. Consider the Butterfly Effect, or the quote by Mother Teresa: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Even if the results are not immediately apparent, they are there.
You are teaching the future engineers, chemists, biologists, handymen, carpenters, physicists, plumbers, economists, statisticians, and programmers. Your job is to show the students how to get the answer to the way the world works around them. You can also show how the data can be misrepresented to manipulate people. You can explain to your students that math is all around them, while they are earning their salary, paying taxes, or looking up their birthday in the digits of Pi.
The point is this, and I’m trying my best not to sound melodramatic – without math teachers, society would crumble. It is not just the natural world that would be viewed as nothing but spooky magic. It is also the modern world that uses math in every service industry there is.
What Is My Role In the World?
The world needs math teachers. Sure, the information is there and available for anyone willing to look it up. With the internet, even people in remote places can receive formulas for university-level math problems. But, can they understand them? Will they be motivated to do it on their own? This is very unlikely.
Math teachers explain, motivate, discipline and, whether they are willing or not, shape the future by the power of effort they invest and feedback they receive. If you’ll excuse the terrible pun, math teachers are integral to society.