[Numeracy 47] Hello

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Kathryn Baxter kbaxinva at gmail.com
Sat Jan 23 12:40:28 EST 2010

Hello group! My name is Kathryn Baxter, and I have very little in common
with most of you, but I am eager to find out more about your ideas for
making Math less anxiety-producing. You see, I am a math phobic who teaches
Math. Through a series of events (isn't that just the way life goes?), I
find myself, after 20+ years of teaching ESL and Remedial English in
Community College and in High School, now a teacher of GED/ABE in a
correctional facility in a small town in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
(about 60 miles West and 50 years behind Washington DC).

As a high school drop out, I managed to avoid complicated math even as I got
my GED, went to university and achieved BA and MA in various fields
(Linguistics, Education, International HRD), and lived out my life into the
mid 50's where I now find myself. Math is something I have consciously
eschewed except when forced into it - like doubling recipes and figuring out
how much of a tip to leave. I get glassy eyed and slightly nauseated when
it goes beyond that. However, here I am, in the jail, trying to be
comforting and positive about the experience, leaning heavily on the skills
of student/inmate tutors who, as it turns out feel rewarded by being chosen
to help their math-deficient teacher.

Anyway, long story short, I am already learning that I am not alone in this
math-anxious state, and secretly, I am beginning to feel the pleasure in
working out problems and seeing that I am RIGHT! I think as an individual
who has overcome obstacles in my past and achieved a measure of success, I
can draw on those experiences and believe that I can do this too. So much
of the struggle with my students comes from their inability to believe that
they can do much of anything successfully. Little rewards along the way
--quizzes you know they'll ace, elementary computer programs that don't look
elementary that allow them to work out the problem alone and get the "green
light" when they get it right - seem to help.

I am looking forward to learning from you~! Thanks for inviting me.

Kathryn Baxter

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