Emily Little

Struggle subject turns almost enjoyable

In school, everyone has a favorite subject or two. Personally, I prefer English and agriculture to all of my other classes. From physical education to biology, the list varies for each person. I can understand how someone would enjoy almost every subject - other than math. Since elementary school, I have dreaded learning math. Many of my subjects come relatively easy to me, whether just naturally or with a bit of studying. However, this has never been the case with math. I get frustrated quickly when it comes to math because I cannot just simply sit down and learn it. I have always had a hard time following the teacher during math class, especially when it is something I previously learned. With so many methods to do so many different types of problems, I can't seem to keep them all straight. Of course I try to ask questions during class, but the answers I get usually just confuse me more. Normally it's not the teachers' fault, though I mentally try to push the blame on them. Math is just something that I know I will never grasp right away, and I have come to just accept it.
Although math does not come easily to me on my own or in a classroom setting, I have found a learning environment that works extremely well for me. In the seventh or eighth grade, I started going to my tutor Cheryl. At first, I was reluctant to go. I thought it would be like math class, but outside of school - even worse torture. However, after my first tutoring session, I realized it was nothing like a math class. When I was younger, I always pictured tutoring as it was portrayed in professional tutoring commercials - a huge building with gray walls and a lot of desks. My tutoring sessions are just the opposite as we sit at Cheryl's kitchen table with my book spread out in front of us. I can't exactly put my finger on what it is about Cheryl's teaching style that makes it so easy to understand. She teaches math at South Florida State College, but has been able to teach me since middle school like that's what she does every day. For a long time, I always put the stereotype in my head that tutoring was just for struggling students. While math has always been my most difficult subject and I have had to work at it, I have managed to maintain an A or B average throughout my school career. Tutoring has made making straight A's in math a much less daunting task. From Pre-Algebra to Algebra to Geometry, and now to Algebra 2, Cheryl has allowed me to feel much more confident in my abilities. She seems to understand the type of teaching I need. Rather than showing me an example problem and expecting me to figure it out from there, she gives me a problem to try before even explaining the lesson. That way, when I make a mistake, I understand why my method was wrong. I have a hard time being told something and just accepting it, so when Cheryl explains to me why things happen a certain way, things seem to click in my head. While I still make my fair share of mistakes, the number has decreased drastically since I began going to Cheryl for tutoring. Every time I zoom through a math problem or ace a math test, I think of how grateful I am for my parents forcing me to swallow my pride and go to tutoring and how grateful I am to have such an awesome tutor!