From an early age I was a whiz at math. It came naturally to me. Mathematics associated with chemistry and genetics especially excited me and piqued my interest. I was moving quickly through math in middle school and I thought for sure I would push through and advance quickly come high school. Then 9th grade came and everything changed.
I was excited to jump into Algebra. That was my strong subject (Geometry not so much, but that is another story). I would do my homework, showed my thought process, and got the right answer, but it was still marked wrong. What was going on? I met with the teacher and she said I wasn’t doing it the way she taught me. I argued, “but I got the right answer and showed my work.” It didn’t matter. I didn’t understand her method of getting the right answer.
Come mid-term I was nearly failing the class and my parents were contacted. “Why is my daughter nearly failing a class she has always been so good at?” I felt inadequate, frustrated, and unsupported by my school. I was able to pass the class, but that was the last math class I took. I had met my requirement of math classes to graduate from high school and I was done.
This is a story that we have heard over and over again and has instigated a shift in how students are taught. Personalized learning gives students the opportunity to learn their way, at their own pace. I wonder how far I may have gone if it weren’t for that experience? Would I have had a different life path? Would I have been a Chemist or Geneticist? I guess I’ll never know, but we have the opportunity to prevent this from being a continuing theme.
With the adoption and implementation of programs designed to be adaptable to the student, more doors are opened to achieve. I wouldn’t have dreaded going to class because I didn’t want to feel stupid. I was avoiding a subject that used to bring me so much pleasure and pride. I joined the Getting Smart team because we work to help educate thought leaders, educators, schools, and districts on the importance of providing an experience that makes children love to learn. Although writing this post has brought up many old emotions, I am proud that I am working to prevent my experience from being repeated.
How have your past education experiences influenced you today?