Working with Children: Maths Quest

Hello Reader,

So if you have read any of my previous posts relating to my current work situation you will know that I am currently unemployed. I’m looking for work after being royally screwed over by my last employers. That aside, I am trying to find my place in a school. Something I’ve been trying to do since I finished college. A lot of people think working with children is easy. But it’s not. There is so much effort that goes into it. Well I guess it depends on the person. Personally, I want to help develop children’s minds to the best of my ability, and when I find a barrier somewhere I …educate myself and try and go the “extra mile.” As people working with children should.

I was an average student getting my C – A* grades. My strengths have always been in English and History. Though I’m good at other things too. Shockingly I got a B in drama. Go figure. On the other hand, I struggle a great deal with Maths. I had to re-take in college because I was one mark off a C. However when I tell people this, sometimes they feel that I can’t do Maths at all (seriously, it’s weird), so they ask me an easy addition sum, to “test the water” or some rubbish. Having said that I hate being put on the spot with maths and I’ve no doubt you fine people can relate. My mind just goes blank and I feel my face twitch as I’m just about ready to use my fingers when suddenly my brain pops in and says “howdy! I feel like you need me right now.” It’s no joke. I mean at the dinner table a day or so ago my father asks me “So what’s fourteen subtract five?”  – Out of nowhere! He’s looking at me like “Come on… I’ve just shocked the crap out of you with a random sum, right in your face and you will know the answer.” So I’m sat there, with a face full of food, eyes wide and I’m thinking, “Why, are you doing this to me?” Forget the sum! The sum is forgotten! As I’m just starring at my dad like he has betrayed me and ruined this nice moment of filling my stomach …Okay, that’s a little extreme; it was more that I sat there, with a blank expression on my face trying desperately to get my mind to work on the sum, rather than not choking on my dinner. The problem is, it’s such a simple sum. That I feel ridiculously stupid for not getting it in the first five seconds.

It’s… to say the least a bit frustrating when I go to an interview and they give a test of Maths and English, giving me all of twenty minutes to complete – which I didn’t know about. If I had known, I would have done what I’m doing now. It’s been so long since I’ve done maths that I had even forgot what borrowing was in a subtraction sum. And which was greater than or less than e.g. < is Less than. I only know that now because I’ve been re-learning it all!! …Bloody hell.

Anyway, I have another interview on Wednesday, in a school. As a Teaching Assistant (TA) so… I’m just learning everything I need to feel a bit more confident. I think it’s good anyway to refresh your memory with things like this, just incase you ever get a sudden pop quiz from your father who likes to take the piss. In all seriousness though, in my line of work, I need to be at least a bit smarter and “in the know” than the children. Lets be realistic.

I wouldn’t say I’m thick or stupid. My mental arithmetic just isn’t great. Give me a pad of paper and a pen then I’m fine (as long as I remember to correct formula for the sum) My excuse is I’m left handed so more creative and better at other things, so it wouldn’t be fair if I was great at maths as well… *cough*

I have started going on… Bitesize… It’s a bit boring. It didn’t seem to be working. A bit of a shame ’cause they have it all in order and it’s perfect but… I don’t know how young children are supposed to revise with it… So i’ve changed tactics and have opted for Videos! Much more helpful, with someone talking me through it. I may actually buy some books that are aimed at children to practice. I’m not ashamed to admit I need to try hard at maths. Everyone has that one subject or one thing that they need to try a little harder at in life. I’m proud to say, I’m not giving up, and if there is something you feel you could be better in, you shouldn’t give up either. Practice really does make perfect. …Or close to it. But you never know, being good at something is better than not being able to do something at all.

I’ll hopefully now be ready for my challenge on Wednesday. I’m also going to be in a classroom helping instead of doing my own activity, which is fantastic as I’d like to have an idea of how they get on in a classroom. Don’t get me wrong, one to one time or small group activities with children are great. I just prefer the atmosphere of a classroom. Besides, it’s a good experience to see how they work, since I’ll be looking to see if they are right for me as much as I am for them.

So let the Maths quest continue. I will become more confident. This is the beginning of something positive. To become happier with myself and comfortable in my abilities as an adult. Why not give it a try yourself? Even if it’s just gaining that extra bit of knowledge about the world.

…Let’s hope it pays off, huh?

Thanks for reading!

The answer was nine by the way. You got it, right? Yeah, me too after I’d stopped panicking… wasn’t so hard after all haha!

Until the next time.


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Lou-Lou Belle

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