Here is a little piece written by one of our English specialists about her struggle with maths as a student. We hope you find it to be insightful, honest and inspiring :)
I didn’t get Maths as a child. From a young age, I was a linguist. My Mum tells me she spent hours talking to me as a baby and I loved reading and telling stories but numbers always eluded me. It was as if I was blind to them. Sure, I could count to ten in five different languages no problem but multiplying those numbers together? Not a chance!
I first realised it was an issue in Year 4. I had a wonderfully kind and caring teacher – think Miss Honey from Matilda – called Mrs Stenning. We were learning how to do long addition but I didn’t understand the concept of ‘carrying the one’ so I just put a one next to every number. Of course, on some of the questions, I got lucky but it was evident that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing!
Fast forward a few years and I was still struggling so I went back to Mrs Stenning. She had opened her own tutoring business in a lovely old cottage. I went there twice a week for just over a year and my confidence continued to grow with the one-to-one help and attention that I wasn’t getting in the classroom.
Then came the move to secondary school and it was back to square one again. I remember doing a presentation in Year 7 and the whole class laughed so much that I went cherry red and returned to my seat unable to make eye contact for the rest of the lesson.
By the time I reached Year 9, a new teacher, Miss Birkby, had started and it was as if she was able to translate it all for me. The impossible questions that I would spend the entire lesson trying to figure out weren’t that impossible after she explained them in a way I understood. She saw it wasn’t that I couldn’t do it but that I just didn’t know how.
A couple of years later, I nervously opened my GCSE transcript to find that I’d passed with a B. Now I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t the rags to riches story you were hoping for but for me, a B was tantamount to being awarded a Nobel Prize. It was validation that I wasn’t stupid, thick or dumb – all of the things I’d been telling myself for years – but that with patience and understanding, I could overcome any challenge I had to face.