Students suffer from math challenge

Mathematics is a subject many students suffer with. With its on going equations and never ending approaches, people can intensely struggle. What do Arvada West math teachers, and students think about the subject? 

Daniel Kulinski

Julianna Jenssen is a math teacher of Algebra 1 to freshman students and a discrete math teacher to seniors at Arvada West. “I think the biggest challenge students face when learning Math is a lack of confidence. Most students do not feel confident in their answers or do not feel confident asking for help which makes learning Math difficult.” Jenssen explains. 

Interestingly enough, in an article written by Ryan Stanley titled, Why is Math so Hard for Some Students? The author mentions how many students from all ages, get math anxiety and have a lack of patience for such a fast moving subject. For students who get socially anxious and don’t feel comfortable getting one on one help with a teacher or asking a question in front of the whole class, the subject is incredibly stressful for students. 

Jenssen expresses, “I struggled with Math immensely in school. In middle school, I would come home crying because I was so frustrated and felt stupid in class, and my teachers weren’t helping me to the extent that I needed help. It wasn’t until I came to Awest my freshman year that I met a teacher that made me feel confident in myself and my abilities that I started to love Math.” 

People begin a relationship with all subjects at a young age, and those first initial feelings play a big part in how they are later perceived. Math curriculums are always fast paced, and because of this some teachers don’t make the time to individually reteach all students. Obviously, it is the student’s responsibility to take the first step and reach out for help, but when you are not connected to a subject, some students don’t feel the importance of catching up. 

“You can really just lose faith, especially when you don’t know the real meaning behind all the math and how it can help in the future. I just wish there were more options to get into, and maybe students would give up less easily.” Says freshman Avery Harrison. 

According to The Washington Post, the most commonly failed high school course is Algebra. Not only is it the most failed high school course, but also the most failed in community college, and one of the largest reasons students quit community college. These are high school students and people from 18 and older who continue to struggle with the subject. People lose faith in themselves and even with incredible teachers and tons of help, inevitably give up. 

“If I could change one thing about the way the Math curriculum is taught it would be to teach conceptually. A lot of curriculums teach the skills but not the “why” behind the Math. I also think that curriculums should include more real-life applications. This would decrease the number of students that ask, “When am I ever going to use this?” significantly.” Jenssen shares.

Teachers like Ms. Jenssen get students involved by looking at the how, what and why in mathematics. But even with that outlook on the subject students tend to suffer the worst in the subject. Even if you are in algebra, geometry, or calculus math is the subject the majority of US students suffer from. Math is truly a challenge, and there should be more options and pathways for students to get help, or pick a section of math they could really be passionate about. If more options were present to students, mathematics would not be the most failed highschool subject.