What did you end up doing as a job?

Sponsored by Westpac, who is proud to offer Mathspace Essentials free for all Australians

When I was in Year Six I had a teacher called Mr. Holloway. Mr. Holloway could be fairly frightening but underneath it all he was your typical Aussie larrikin. I remember him as very lanky and he dressed like a bushie. His preferred method of torture was public humiliation.

Every Friday he would draw a circle on the board and randomly write the numbers 1-12 around it. And then in the middle he would choose a number, again in the 1-12 range, in the center of the circle. Then each and every one of us had to stand up as he stood there with a stopwatch. We had to recite our times tables.

It was petrifying. Some kids were super quick at them and some just froze in shock. If you stood there in shock for a while, he would throw the chalkboard duster at you and bellow…

“Sit down you dunderhead!”

Several decades later, I still remember this as if it happened yesterday.

But maths for me wasn’t always that way. I loved making patterns with the Cuisenaire rods. Remember them? Belgium primary school teacher Georges Cuisenaire who saw them as a very effective hands on way to approach many mathematical concepts.

But maths was never one of my strongest points. In high school, I did a subject, which was affectionately known as VEGGIE MATHS. It was the lowest level of maths that could be studied. The highlight of the scholastic year was an excursion to a McDonalds so we could study the tiled tessellations on the floor.

And no, I am not even joking.

However, when I graduated as a Primary School teacher, the teaching of mathematics had changed so much! It was much more hands-on and kid-friendly that it was a subject that I ended up really enjoying teaching. I loved it when you could see concepts “click” with kids. Maths can get a bad rap, but in reality it can be very creative.

In Australia, during the last decade, the number of kids doing NO maths in their final year has tripled. Which is all very well and good but research indicates that 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations require maths and science knowledge.

Mathspace is widely regarded as the best online resource for maths. Westpac recently teamed up with Mathspace to make their online Essentials program free for all Aussie kids, to support and extend what they are doing in the classroom. And it being online, well kids are going to love it.

I mean, what is there to lose? It is free, it is interactive and did I mention it was free?

To download your copy, simply click here.

Did you excel in maths as a kid? How are your kids doing with maths?

What did you end up doing as a career?