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  • Writer's pictureRobert Ahdoot

Teach to leap

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple. ~Amos Bronson Alcott

We have all had that teacher that insists his/her way is better, easier, or preferred. These teachers miss the whole point. To teach is to guide students to as many avenues as possible, while also clearly acknowledging that students may or may not decide to take those avenues. The best educators inspire to the point of becoming invisible.

Initially, teachers ask questions for students to answer. Eventually though, if students can begin to ask themselves questions, a deeper sense of learning is sparked. Asking the appropriate question is often more important than the answers that follow, according to Albert Einstein.

My question is: why does Yay Math work? Within the Yay Math videos, you see education delivered with enthusiasm. While I have a deep personal connection with mathematics, I share an equal passion for those viewers who wish to succeed in math only as a means to an end. I am not that teacher that gets offended when people say that they hate math. I empathize with them, for the concept of "hate" must be connected to some form of pain they've endured.

That is one of the core reasons I bring enthusiasm to the table, to break existing norms (i.e. math = boring + impossible) and to neutralize the cycle of distrust. The good news is that while I work to package math in a digestible way, I refuse to force-feed it. Math is as beautiful and as necessary a concept as any other one can learn, both in and out of school. As Alcott says

above, teachers must not be biased to their subjects or styles. We must offer encouragement and serve as guideposts, rather than bark orders or navigate the controls. We illuminate paths without necessarily standing on them.

Yay YOU!

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