What’s Wrong With Liking Maths?
On Friday we got DD3′s report. We were expecting to be very pleased with it and we were. She is just finishing Year 1 and has done very well at school.
She has enjoyed this year tremendously despite her designated teacher being off sick for one term, then two, then eventually being officially replaced. She has gone on school trips, taken part in after school clubs, played with her friends and advanced academically.
And she’s looking forward to Year 2.
In our school, the children write the first page of their report themselves, and draw a little picture to illustrate the points they have made.
I used DD’s effort as last week’s Silent Sunday photo, mainly because it had a funny spelling mistake in the first sentence.
But a few people read through to the end and came to the last two sentences which read ‘ I am looking forward to year 2 because I really want hard maths work. The best thing this year has been number work.’
Some readers specifically commented on them and said that she’ll change her mind about the maths work one day.
It wasn’t just my readers either. I’ve shown a few people at school that first page ( it has no indication of how well she’s doing on it) so they could have a laugh at her slightly rude spelling mistake. Again, they kept reading and commented on DD’s liking for maths.
‘I wonder how long that will last?’, said one.
‘She won’t be saying that next year!’, remarked another.
I was surprised and a little insulted. What’s wrong with liking maths? If she had said the same thing about reading, I’m sure no one would have said anything in the least disparaging about her enthusiasm. If you have a child who likes books, people are wildly enthusiastic about it. I know because all three of my girls are keen readers and are often complimented for it. Everyone ‘knows’ that reading is a good thing and you’d never dream of suggesting to a child who is enjoying learning to read simple books, that next year the books will be harder and that she will no longer enjoy reading then!
As it happens DD3 is very good at maths as well as enjoying it. This is not surprising as her dad is mathematically inclined and I’m not terrible at it either. Her two older sisters don’t love it as much as DD3 does but they are both good at it too. DD3 likes numbers. she ‘gets’ them; as her teacher said, it is her ‘best thing’.
This attitude towards a little girl liking maths confuses me. Would people’s attitude be different if she was a boy?
I know a lot of people struggled with it at school, but I know a lot of people ( myself included) who felt the same way about PE. They hated it, but if their children, or their friend’s children turn out to like sports, everyone accepts and applauds their enthusiasm.
I don’t understand. What’s wrong with liking maths?