More than Math

About 14 years ago, I became a math teacher.  After working in the corporate world for 25 years, I lost my job for the first time.  Due to downsizing, my job was eliminated.  I did not see it coming, or at least I didn’t expect it to happen.  All of a sudden, I didn’t have a place to go every day.  I had no idea what I wanted to do.  At the time, people from the business world were being hired to teach.  I decided to give it a shot.  I taught math for a while before returning to the corporate world but I continued as a private tutor.  After a few years of tutoring, I ran out of students and didn’t market myself as a tutor so I stopped.  Last year, I ran into a friend whose kids I had tutored.  She hooked me up with a friend of hers who has a tutoring business and I joined her company as a math tutor.

This evening, I was working with a middle school student.  She had been doing well in math so, during the last several weeks, we worked on other subjects.  Tonight, she said she had to work on math because she hadn’t done well on a recent quiz.  Our session turned out to be a combination of math skills and confidence-building.

As we went over the math problems, she would say things like “I always do that wrong” or “I don’t like asking questions in class because of the the other kids will think” or “I’m just not good at this”.  With all of my years of experience with self-help books, as a peer specialist, and trying to be a positive person, I found myself talking with her about generalizations,  confidence, and positive self-talk.  I told her about some of my challenges with confidence and that I understand what she feels.  I hope I didn’t overstep my bounds as a math tutor but I thought it was important to let her know that I get it.

I hope she has a good week.

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