- Published on Sunday, 12 August 2012 02:59
- Written by BENIEL SEKA
- Hits: 903
ONE of the greatest problems facing our schools is lack of teachers, especially science and mathematics ones. The problem is rooted in other problems such as low salaries, unsuitable teaching environment and inability to admit enough suitable students in the teachers' colleges.
Mathematics is feared by many pupils especially in secondary schools and records the highest failure rate for the Secondary O-level National examinations. This makes it very difficult to select students to train as mathematics teachers.
A teacher of mathematics is a member of a distinguished profession and as such he/she has a responsibility to uphold and up-grade the standards of his/her profession and to support and draw help from the professional association called Mathematical Association of Tanzania (MAT/CHAHITA).
Every mathematics teacher should join and participate in the activities of this association both at national and zonal level. For example, MAT/CHAHITA plans to hold its annual seminar at Makumira Theological College, Arusha from 17th to 22nd September, 2012 and all mathematics teachers are invited to participate.
If you have an aptitude for mathematics and you enjoy it, you can have even more fun teaching it. A good teacher will be learning new mathematics all his/her life. She/he will find that the very best way really to understand mathematics is to teach it to another person. The more you teach the more you know. If you know mathematics and you do not let others know it you are becoming selfish. Share your knowledge with others.
You as a teacher will find it especially challenging to keep abreast of new developments in mathematics. Many people have the opinion that mathematics is a static subject. On the contrary, no field of knowledge is as dynamic as mathematics. New mathematics is being discovered all the time.
New teaching methods and techniques and teaching aids are being tried out and many teachers have gone back to school to up-grade their teaching. Many teachers conduct interesting experiments in their own classrooms. MAT/CHAHITA has developed a scheme to award them through the Mathematics Teachers' Award.
Studies in mathematics education are full of interesting topics at all levels. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, you can always find something new, interesting and almost unbelievable, in mathematics. As you study new topics in mathematics, you will have the thrill of occasionally discovering a theorem or idea which is new to you. If your idea is new to the literature in mathematics, you have made a significant contribution. If your contribution does not attract attention, it is still significant to you.
Although a number of teachers have been frustrated by the system and situations they find themselves in, a few have enjoyed the profession. These teachers willingly devote extra time and avoid being tempted to look for more highly paid jobs. When interviewed by the author of this article, one of the teachers said, "To me, teaching is a challenging and exciting carer. The beginning of each school year is an adventure. I have new ideas to try out."
Another teacher had the following to say: "One of my students returned to visit me after he had made his mark in life. He thanked me sincerely for my contribution to his success." This claim shows that good teaching is rewarding. It opens up friendship between you and your learners.
"One of the reasons why I like to teach mathematics is that I love the subject," said an experienced mathematics teacher. "I am always intrigued by the many ways in which one can have fun with mathematics. I try to pass my enthusiasm for it on to my pupils."
Our world has become more technical and scientific than ever before. The need for trained minds has rapidly increased. A few generations ago the need was for the academically strong individual to do the job. We can no longer wait for them do the job.
After all we are not motivating them. Now that we have discovered almost unlimited sources of power, our priority should be to elevate the brains to direct this power.
The need for trained minds is especially acute in mathematics. You should realise that mathematics is the very likelihood of our modern world. Thus, when you teach mathematics, you have the satisfaction that you are making a significant contribution. So join the profession.