By Linda Smail - Mathematics is the foundation of all sciences, but most students have problems learning mathematics. Although Students’ success in life is related to their success in learning, many of them would not take a course in math if they didn’t need to satisfy the university’ core requirement.
Teaching mathematics doesn’t depend on geographical regions or gender; it depends on good math teachers. Based on conversations with hundreds of students over many years from different regions, I have observed that poor understating of mathematics begins when a student goes two or three years in a row without an excellent math teacher. Many students can survive bad teaching for a year, but very few can go longer. Students who have continued to enjoy math can remember excellent teachers and describe their lessons, usually back to the mid-elementary years; I certainly can.
I believe that any educative adult can do mathematics and that everyone can learn but may learn differently. There is no difference in understanding mathematics between males and females, and as a female, I must say that once all chances are given and barriers are removed, females can show themselves to be equal, and perhaps even better, to men in quantitative reasoning.
I love mathematics and I love teaching students courses from elementary algebra to differential equations. I have often found myself filling napkins with computations while discussing math over dinner or lunch. I do talk a lot about math, think and write about math, but students rarely do. For this reason and many others, I advise you, as students, to not let unpleasant experiences in mathematics prevent you from understanding mathematics, keep positive attitudes towards math, ask questions, practice regularly, and not to just read over notes but actually do the math. I hope that my knowledge, my love of math, and my love of teaching mathematics will result in students who will appreciate studying and understanding mathematics. Seeing the smile on my students’ faces when they finally understand mathematics is my reward.