Overcoming a Fear of Math

Confession time: Math was NOT my favorite subject in school. Some students, and even teachers, might agree with me — math felt a bit tricky and it’s hard to feel motivated when you don’t see the practical applications or struggle finding answers.

As an adult who has worked on overcoming a fear of math, I realize more and more how getting comfortable with mathematics is a basic foundational skill. A dislike or fear of math can add frustration to an otherwise pleasant everyday activity, such as cooking, leaving a tip, calculating a sale, and exercise.

Math is so inter-linked and inter-related to the world around us that no one can really live life without using any math. In addition (see?), our attitudes as teachers influence our students. For example, when teaching students about the galaxy, a discussion might start about light years. A teacher may hesitate to move into greater depth for fear of not being able to understand or properly explain the calculations.

As we move toward understanding integrated education and cross-curricular connections, it becomes important that each of us are confident in approaching math-related problems and overcoming any fears. Our confidence in the classroom can help students develop their comfort level and have solid answers when tackling real-life problems.

Some food for thought:

  • Where do you find yourself doing math throughout the day, without even realizing it?
  • How can integrating math into your subject area enhance the lesson and help a student overcoming a fear of math?

Every teacher can become a pro at integrating mathematics into their curriculum. Explore more with the online professional development class: Mathematics for All Teachers.


About the Author
Ellen Paxton is a respected expert in education and best known as the Chief Learning Officer of Professional Learning Board. As a two-time National Board Certified Teacher, Ellen has successfully published and customized online professional development courses and Learning Management Systems for 20 years to help teachers meet their state continuing education renewal credit requirements. Through ProfessionalLearningBoard.comRenewaTeachingLicense.com, and ConnectedPD.com, Ellen has established solutions and maintained partnerships with several accredited universities, higher education institutions, teachers’ unions and state Departments of Education while setting strategic direction that makes a difference and overseeing implementation of popular online PD for schools.