Lately I’ve seen a multitude of amazing blogs filled with intense debate and highly strung (wonderfully informed) opinions.
This is not one of those entries.
I’ve been wondering for a couple of days now what to write about. There have been plenty of things that both the government and other such organisations have got me a little hot under my very trendy waistcoat about.
But well… It’s almost the summer and the sun is actually here today as I write this!
Dammit I’m in a good mood and I wanted to spread some of that feeling!
It’s times like this when I get all passionatey about my wonderful subject.
There’s something amazing about maths. Something so cosmologically beautiful that it defies all borders and trancends all peoples and nations.
How amazing is it that there exists a way to not only explore the world around us but to make absolute clear sense of it as well AND how spectacular is it that despite all we know there is more just round the corner just waiting to discovered.
It’s staggering to think that different infinities can have different sizes. Hell it’s staggering to think about the nature of infinity itself! The fact that maths can explain all of this with concrete proof blows my mind.
Just stop and spend a minute contemplating the eliptical orbit our small insignificant planet takes every year as it hurtles through space at some amazingly inconceivable speed. Then consider how we as humans have been able to describe this immense undertaking in just a short few lines of beautiful text.
Think of all the breakthroughs in medicine that has allowed us to survive infectious diseases, survive crippling birth problems and even survive having a damn house drop on your head.
And then just think about how awesome it is to be able to work out the probability of hannah getting just the right kind of sweet!
And yet despite all these wonderful achievements humankind have made. It’s us. We teachers. We are at the coalface of all this knowledge. Not the super Cambridge and Oxford elite pottering away in front of a skyscraper sized blackboard. Not the Harvard and Yale supremos closeted away with bits of paper, deep thought computer systems and their utter genius. Us.
We. Humble teachers are the ones with the job to nurture and inspire the next array of mathematical wonders.
Without our input there would be no more discoveries. Our race would stagnate and wither.
It’s unlikely that any of us reading this (and most certainly the one writing this) are going to make their everlasting mathematical mark on the world (oh to be the next euclid!). But it could very well be one of our protégés that goes on to change the world. It’s our love for our subject that will inspire the next generation of professional mathematical world changers.
It’s you. Yes you! The one slogging their guts out helping kids to spot the patterns in the abstract. You. The one helping children explore their world in more than just a physical sense. You. The one bouncing up and down along that giant number line at the side of your room.
Your passion is the key to everything.
Never underestimate your impact.
I’m going to end this with a quote from my favourite author. Not because he’s a mathematician (because he’s not) and not because he’s speaking of the glory of the human race (because he’s really not) but because I think that he’s hinting at some hidden truth about our relationship to our pupils and it’s certainly worth considering.
“In the empty eyes of this child, he’d seen the withering of his own soul. The reflection had been unblemished, with no imperfections to challenge the truth of what he saw.” – Steven Erikson.
When you look at your pupils. What do you see?
P.s. If you’ve read this far… well done!
This post was brought to you by the letter ‘waffle’ and the number ‘more waffle’