Now I know you have heard this before:
“I am not a math person!”
“Math has never been my thing”
“I suck at Math”
I hear it every day from the students I tutor, friends, family, and even random people when I tell them I am tutoring various math subjects.
And honestly…I was guilty of saying this to myself too. I know…. a tutor who isn’t a math person…
Now before you doubt my ability, let me tell you why.
The reason people say they are not a math person is that someone told them they were not! Not because they truly cannot do well in their math classes.
Whether it was someone deliberately saying it, or it was the way a parent or teacher reacted to a bad math grade, someone told you at some point that math was not for you.
I am going to tell you and show you that you are a MATH person! You just need to shed those limiting beliefs and make some small changes! And these five steps will help you get there!
1. Stop saying it! 🙊
No seriously, stop it. The first step you can truly take to become a math person is to stop saying that you aren’t. Sounds simple but then you will slip up in the banter of friendly conversation when the topic of fractions comes up and you blurt out, “I have no clue! I don’t do math!”
You do Math! Every single day. Being a math person doesn’t mean you need to know how to find derivatives and remember what that “log” button on the calculator does.
It can simply mean you know how to calculate the 30% off on that pair of jeans in Old Navy or know that if you eat another slice of pizza there will only be 1/8th of that pizza left.
So, stop doubting yourself and start encouraging your glorious ability to calculate any sales price in your favorite store 😊
2. When it doubt, GOOGLE IT OUT! 💻
Yes, I am telling you to use Google. There are some topics you may run into, depending on what stage of life you are in, that are just downright confusing! If you’re in high school, you are going to see so many different math topics in your years and you will be required to pull out those basics you learned in elementary and middle school.
And let’s face it, you were not paying that much attention in Ms. Wilson’s 7th-grade math class when she was going over how to work with exponents.
So, when you forget a rule, google it. For example, I did a simple search for exponent rules and found the following:
Multiple photos of charts ready to explain each rule
Multiple Youtube videos ready to guide me with Examples
And there were many more resources to choose from!
So do not feel discouraged when you forget a topic or a new topic comes into your math portfolio, Googles’ got you covered! 😉
3. Take responsibility for your own learning! 🤔
Now, this is some tough love here.
I can’t tell you how many of my students come running to me complaining about monotone professors, terrible study guides that do not match the test and assigned textbooks that do not explain well enough.
Now, I do not doubt these claims one bit! I have had my fair share of professors who sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown.
But, I knew blaming the teacher or the study guide was not going to get me my A+ on my Algebra quiz on Friday.
So, what do you do when something is impeding your ability to succeed in your math class?
You make an alternative resource list!
For example, if my teacher’s voice is monotone and his/her lecture on how to graph linear equations is flying through one ear and out the other, I think of 5 alternative and specific resources I can use. Here is one I made below:
Issue: Boring teachers and lectures that are not helping!
· Khan Academy Videos
· Textbook examples
· Ask another Math teacher at my school
· Get a Math Tutor (Some schools have free ones if you cannot afford a private tutor)
· Watch a Youtube video
Now, this is going to get you to that A+! Now you have addressed the issue and found 5 viable solutions to your problem which saved you hours of complaining and buckets of tears from failing quizzes and tests.
4. Being a talented writer and loving books does not automatically make you anti-math 🤯
Now, this misconception that if you write and read well you do not do math well is ridiculous.
I grew up as an avid reader. So much so, to the point where my mom would punish me by making me go outside and play instead of reading.
Yeah…she had to get creative since “go to your room” didn’t really work on me.
My reading scores were high, but my math scores were low in my younger years. Teachers have always said to me” Wow Asia you are definitely a Language Arts girl not a Math girl!”
Now there are many other issues with that statement, but the point is she had unintentionally made me bad at math with one statement.
But truthfully speaking, I am great at Math. I just never had the proper guidance and encouragement from a young age. And one day, I decided I would be a “math person.”
I asked questions, found other resources, and practiced!
Angela Duckworth, the writer of “Grit: The power of passion and perseverance”, states in her book the following equation:
Talent x Effort = Skill
This means that even if your talent is at a 1 if you put your effort at 100 your skill can still come out at 100%.
The effort is just as important! So do not let “natural talent” pull you away from working hard at something.
I did not have a natural talent at Math but I put my effort to practice and use other resources at 100%! Now I can help students with various math topics like working with fractions or even calculating derivatives!
5. Know when to ask for help 📢
Now, this is something I DEFINITELY struggled with. I am that one person that will walk around the whole grocery store to look for something to avoid asking for help.
This seems great in the sense of perseverance and independence, but this is not always the smartest thing to do.
In Amanda Duckworth’s book, she tells the story of a retired mathematician named Rhonda Hughes. One of the things Rhonda mentions is that “asking for help was a good way to hold on to hope.”
When she states this, she is confirming that asking for help is not an indicator that you can’t do this but that there is hope you can do this!
You can develop the ability to do math despite popular belief. You do not have to say you are not a “math person” because, truthfully, everyone is if they truly want to be.
Finding a tutor or teacher to help guide you through topics and clear the fog can really make a difference in your understanding.
And if you follow all five of these steps, you can be a “math person” 😄
PS If you enjoyed what I have said here and want to take that step in becoming a math person, then click the link below! It will lead you to my website where you can fill out a contact form and get help in the subjects you have been struggling to pass or even master! I am offering FREE 20-minute consultations to help you get to your next best step and discuss your educational needs: Schedule Here
PPS If you are interested in the book that inspired this blog post, click the photo below that will bring you to the Amazon Listing. (This is an Affiliate linking, so by using my link I will get a commission and you will be supporting this blog! 😄🙌)
Until then, Work Hard and Study Smart! 📖✏️🖋📓
Asia Small | CEO of The Purpose of Prep LLC