Math Education Concepts

Inspiring Motivating Empowering

When Teaching Hurts


Standing in front of the class declaring all the interesting facts about mathematical concepts feels wonderful.  I enjoy math, I enjoy explaining mathematical concepts, and I enjoy watching students as they learn math.

The “hurt” is felt when it’s time to grade exams.  Some students are able to explain mathematical concepts, but have a hard time writing their explanations mathematically.  Some students can solve problems intuitively but cannot write the procedures the way they are taught.  Some students have anxiety attacks at the mere thought of taking a math exam, even when they know the material.

I understand the importance of tests, but I am a fan of assessments (not standardized, but individualized).  Most of my students understand the basic concepts that I teach and can explain them to me during class.  However, during quizzes and exams, those same students perform poorly.  This is when it hurts!  My heart just sinks when I know a student understands a concept, but cannot recall it during an exam.

The ultimate “hurt” happens when it’s time to submit final grades and students just don’t make the grade, so to speak.  My students are really “good” people who are trying to get through college so they can pursue their dreams.  Should one class get in the way?

Of course, the answer is obvious, but there are systems in place.  They are there for a reason, even when we disagree.


Author: Math Education Concepts

I am a Co-founder of and Program Coordinator for Math Corps Philadelphia, a combined academic enrichment and mentoring program. I am the author of "Teacher Training Manual: Designed for Secondary Mathematics Teachers of African American Urban Students." I hold a Master of Education degree in Secondary Mathematics and have several years of experience teaching secondary and post-secondary mathematics.

4 thoughts on “When Teaching Hurts

  1. Hey, Daughter, first of all Happy Mother’s Day! This is a very important and touching blog. All we teachers try so hard to not hurt or try to smother it as a part of the reality of the job. More, sometimes the hurt can escalate into a smoldering rage or feeling of failure, but mostly we are hurting for them, the students. The ones that care and still cannot produce. The most we ever do is plant seeds we hope will grow in their eventual transcendence.


  2. From a student point of view, It is great to be a good person but attending college you have to push yourself in order to pass the tests giving from the professor. It’s really nice to know the Professor prospective and your students should be lucky that they had a caring person who’s passionate about mathematics. Math is a difficult class but I can not imagine how bad it would be without you teaching it. I want to be like you when I grow up lol.


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