Woes of a Mathematics Teacher


 
 
Mr.P.V.Satya Ramesh is an Educator who teaches Mathematics and Psychology. With a teaching experience of more than 15 years, he has published his articles in many magazines.
 
 

Teaching mathematics, particularly at the school level, is gradually becoming a challenge. The reasons could be many but I would like to discuss this under four major heads.

  1. Teaching Tools: Gone are the days when the textbook published by the board was the only teaching tool available. Perhaps this might be one reason why there has been an immense scope for a teacher to explore, experiment and discover alternatives for better learning. To what extent do the teachers of the 21st century have scope to evolve? The answer is, ‘not much’. Teachers ensure that learning happens with the optimum use of the available resources. Now the task would have become easier if there had been just two or three tools. But, with more than five tools placed before the teacher to be used, the process is sure to become ineffective. Some of these tools include textbooks, workbooks, activity books, graded worksheets, lab activity, material kits, smart boards, customised modules for individualised learning, mental maths kits etc., with no choice before a teacher but to choose the best among these. This is every reason why a teacher should not end up in a state of confusion losing interest in the profession.
  2. Students: Students prefer to work with technology whereas the teachers strongly believe that mathematics is learnt better when practiced. The only option left before the teacher is to become competent in the use of technology. However, till then, do you think he/she would be spared? The answer is a NO in majority of the cases. Yet, those who are determined will take up the challenge and the rest would prefer to work in an environment where there is scope for them to ensure learning through conventional ways.
  3. Parents: Parents play a very crucial role in the professional journey of a mathematics teacher. How? It is because they can either make or break the journey. It is an accepted fact that majority of the parents are concerned about their child’s performance particularly in mathematics. Whatever may be the reason, they prefer that the child should go for coaching. This is where the problem arises. On the day of PTM- it is a very common statement heard from parents that the child is doing well in the tuition but we don’t understand what goes wrong in the school. Even after the teacher convinces the parents, it becomes a losing battle for the teachers. Incomplete work by the students is secondary for a parent but work left unchecked becomes the first priority. With students and parents being the prime stakeholders for an organisation than a teacher, it is understood that the teacher has to accept the fact that he/she is defeated.
  4. Management: It is obvious that a teacher has to abide by the rules and regulations laid down by the management. However, here are a few questions for all the people involved in facilitating the journey of a mathematics teacher.
  1. Have the teachers been given adequate freedom to be flexible in their approach or have they become robots to just execute the plan mechanically?
  2. To what extent are the teachers being involved in the selection of teaching learning resources/tools?
  3. Have they been provided with continuous training and mentoring?
  4. Is the monitoring process of the performance of a teacher scientific?
It is high time we spend quality time on addressing these practical difficulties of a mathematics teacher in the classroom. Everyone should make it a point to be one with the teacher. The coordinator or subject heads are expected to demonstrate not just once but multiple ways of effective teaching instead of giving a mere advice. Only then, can we multiply their happiness and divide their sorrows. So, let us begin to listen to the difficulties experienced and thus come out with solutions that add strength and subtract the hassles.