by vaneSSa vakharia
Okay, so school’s back in full swing and the excitement of new classes, shiny school supplies & first-day-back outfits is starting to lose its lustre. That whole idea you had in your head of getting straight A’s this year is starting to crumble under the mountains of homework you have (already!) and your math teacher has moved well past last year’s review and is now throwing some serious curveballs. You’re one more equation away from totally losing motivation and need to remember WHY YOU’RE HERE! Yep - been there, done that. Don’t fret - there is SO much more to your math class than x’s and y’s, and there are legit ways to make your math experience something you actually dig. Brought to you by a math-hater-turned-math-lover-turned-math-teacher … let’s do this!
1. Remember that “Math People” are a total myth. Straight up. That whole thing is a rumour, and almost anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it - but the key is knowing how you learn best! If you’re struggling with new concepts, ask a friend, see your teacher, get a tutor, Google your face off - just know that there IS a way for you to understand what’s going on, you just need someone to talk to you in your language. Seriously, I failed Grade 11 math TWICE until I found a teacher that changed my life! True story.
2. Rep some swag. Sorry, but whoever designed calculators clearly doesn’t understand the concept of fashion AND function. Whatever, totally fixable. Use duct tape, gems, paint & stickers to turn your calculator into something you WANT to use by transforming it into an accessory.
3. Take pride in your notes. Your notes are like your math-diary. Use colourful pens and post-it notes to turn your math notes into enjoyable works of art that you actually WANT to look back on when you’re doing your homework or studying for a test. Re-writing class notes is also a great way to review what you’ve done in class and to translate concepts in your own words so that you can actually understand them later.
4. Make it a social thing. So yes, locking yourself in your room and doing hours of homework totally sucks. So don’t! The chances are that most of your friends have the same homework as you. Get some yummy snacks and hang out at a friend’s house, or cozy up at your fave coffee shop and math-party it up! Not only can you learn more by helping one another, but you won’t feel like you’re totally alone in your misery. :)
5. Stay in the game. One of the worst things in the world is feeling like you’re totally lost and desperately behind. DON’T let that happen! Who cares if your teacher checks your homework or not? DO IT ANYWAY! While all of that practice might seem pointless, it allows you to identify what you don’t understand and what you do. And seriously - check your answers in the back of the book to make sure you’re on the right track!
6. Say f#&k you to stereotypes. The myth that boys are better at math than girls has been dispelled lonnnnng ago - but there are some morons out there that still believe that crap and it’s our job to prove them wrong. Get in there and get in the game!
7. Race your local cashier. Now that the penny is gone, the idea of rounding up or down is stumping mass amounts of people – including many cashiers! Do you want to be that person? I didn’t think so. So do your homework.
8. Change the game. You know, one of the biggest reasons that so many people hate math is that we are TAUGHT to hate math. Bad teachers make it seem boring, mathy people are portrayed as total losers throughout pop culture, and there are pretty much no cool role models out there that talk about their love of math. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can play a role in changing the way math is perceived - take pride in your brain, brag about mastering those crazy equations, and share your math love with your friends. Sometimes all it takes is an awesome role model to change the way that people think - that could be you!
vaneSSa aka The Math Guru
vaneSSa vakharia is the Founder and Director of Learning and Inspiration at The Math Guru, a boutique tutoring studio in the heart of Uptown Toronto. Armed with a Masters in Math Education, tea lattes, and a bedazzled calculator, she’s inspiring a generation of teens to get excited about math and science. The Math Guru is a community of students that’s changing the very culture around math with fun events such as the annual Pi Day Jam, Exam Parties, and Back-To-School Bootcamps.