School has been a cruel master lately.
I don't think I was cut out for this job. I do really believe that mathematics is worthwhile. It is a practical necessity for some jobs in the modern world, and it is a beautiful thing in its own right. I really do believe that every kid I come across can benefit from a little math. And yet... I feel that I am often at cross-purposes with my students, who come to me for test scores and good grades and college acceptances, and rarely for math.
I feel like there is a fundamental flaw in this system of making kids learn math. We tell them they need to learn math and they do not believe us. Obviously a math teacher needs math everyday. You've chosen a stupid job, that's not my problem. I'm going to be a fashion designer, I won't need math. I'm going to be an artist, I won't need math. I'm going into business, I won't need math.
There is an artificial demand for math. When a person aspires to something which they realize demands math (and not just math grades or math classes) the teaching and learning is smooth and enjoyable and amazing. I have seen it. I have seen that sort of interest and determination that transcends class credits and points on tests. But rarely. Most students, and I myself have occasionally done this, settle into the role of a blindly trudging, artless mercenary.
Unfortunately, by the time the student acknowledges a necessity for math, their only hope of success seems to depend upon how far they were dragged along unwillingly during the years preceding their epiphany. And I guess that's where I come in.
Dejectedly and contentedly, and with a scrap of renewed purpose, I suppose that I have always really put myself here to sell a bit of vision, or maybe soften the soil for it. Time will tell if I can make a living on that.