A Challenge to Mathematics Teachers

Francisco Pelagio

Throughout the years of teaching, it has been an observation that many students often struggled when they were solving mathematical problems. This is because of their severe gaps in terms of mathematical concepts. One of this is their fundamental knowledge and skills in the integers, which is a core competency in learning different topics in mathematics. Most of the students do not know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide especially if it involves positive and negative integers. It could be seen from the results of our Division assessment on the four fundamental operations on integers in the secondary schools wherein the Mean Percentage Score (MPS) is just 52.23%.It could also be seen during quarterly examination wherein our Mean Percentage Score (MPS) is far below the 75% target. Despite the continuing and current efforts of our Division, especially by our Education Program Supervisor (EPS) in Math on giving an updates to the teachers on the new strategies that will enhance achievement in this learning area, still, our students show low performance.

It cannot be denied that most of our students have negative behaviors towards mathematics. Many of them possess a negative perception on mathematics as an academic discipline. Some students consider the subject as one that is boring, thus, creating lack of interest in the topics being discussed. This feeling effectively hinders their potential to learn and understand mathematical problem. This is one reason why most of our students often struggle when they are trying to solve mathematical problems.

The high rate of failure among our students in their mathematics subjects poses a big problem for us math teachers. This poses a great challenge on our part on how to deal with this existing problem of our students. A big challenge for us is what should be done to erase their negative perceptions towards Mathematics. It is really a great challenge for us on how to unlock difficulties for low performing students and how to bridge the learning gaps or the lack of mastery in the important concepts and mathematical principles. It a challenge for us to develop their mathematical skills which many students struggle with and to discover strategies in teaching mathematics that is best suited to our students.

Interventions such as daily remedial classes, one-on-one teaching, peer mentoring and providing variety of student’s active teaching activities help increase academic performance of the students. A study by Samo (2008) confirms that, activity based teaching is potent strategy for teaching mathematics. It can create interest in the subject. It can help reduce behavioral problems related to boredom and attention disorder. Also giving support to our students throughout the school year increase their academic performance. A study shown that students are more likely to succeed academically when they feel the teachers are supportive and cares about their success.

It is not bad to dream of an ideal classroom where all of our students feel comfortable in learning mathematical concepts. All we need to do is to work hard to be able to develop good study habit and motivate their interest toward the subject. Let us put into action our dream to develop the mathematical skills of those students who persistently struggle in mathematics and those students who have severe gaps in their mathematical concepts. Let us do our best to improve their performance in the subject and be able to address the need to raise the achievement of our students. Let us face the challenge to fulfill our responsibility that is put on our shoulder, though, it requires greater dedication on our part.