Want to know how you learned to hate math?

It’s actually pretty simple.

(Well actually I’m going to MASSIVELY oversimplify it so I can write an entertaining post. I’m happy to address the finer points if you follow up with me.)

The elementary school system is out to get you! Just kidding. Actually, I’m kinda serious… You see elementary school has a single teacher in grades K-5. So if your third grade teacher isn’t strong with math, he may be just checking the box and teaching the standards, instead of pushing for deep understanding.

Unfortunately, only 10.2% of elementary teachers have degrees in math related subjects.

That means almost 90% don’t.

The middle school system is also out to get you. You see, in middle school you move to specialized teachers. That means that in middle school, you will have a math teacher — whose job it is to teach math. Here the numbers are a bit better. 35.3% of middle school teachers have a math related degree. OOPS. No. Actually 35.3% of middle school MATH teachers have a math related degree. So now you’re in a math class, where your weakness in math is highlighted, and 65% of you have a teacher who doesn’t have a related degree.

Math is cumulative. If you are shaky on your elementary school concepts, you will have a heck of a time catching up in middle school.

Because of the way we teach math (I do / You do / We do – subject of another post), even if you did OK when you learned a concept in the first place, you may not have deep enough fluency to apply it to the next level. This is a problem.
We’re scared of math because we’re scared of math. I’ve been to many restaurants. I’ve been asked on many occasions to calculate the tip because my friends were not ‘math people’. I have NEVER been asked to read a menu to someone. Why?

Why is it so socially acceptable to ask for help with basic math, but not with basic literacy?

I actually don’t know the answer to this one. I’m an Indian American so everyone always seemed to assume I was good at math — and I learned to prove them right. Maybe we’re proving ourselves right in the opposite direction as well…
We’re here to help. Whether you’re looking to find the perfect tutor or just need a little guidance on encouraging your student in math, we’re ready to start the conversation when you are.

Give us a call, we’re here to help.


Ramit Varma
Ramit Varma
Helping parents navigate the politics and the jargon. Math. Test Prep. Learning. I co-founded Revolution Prep with the goal of profoundly improving students’ lives.

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