For a while I’ve been thinking about how maths teachers see themselves, in fact I wrote about it in March last year in my post “Mathematician or Educator”.
Last week I decided to re-open the debate with one of the relatively new twitter polls asking whether maths teachers saw themselves as mathematicians, educators or both. The final results are shown below:
I’m very pleased that 50% of the respondents saw themselves as both a mathematician and an educator it does concern me that 45% of people said only an educator.. I’m very interested in to why some maths teachers don’t see themselves as mathematicians. mrvman (@vahorai) suggested a possibility:
I think more generally a big reason is the common belief that to be a mathematician you must be researching mathematics or using mathematics professionally was opposed to teaching “elementary” mathematics to school children. I think this is a sad way to think – I’m sure many teachers will write things such as “.. is an exceptionally gifted young mathematician” so why wouldn’t a teacher see themselves as a mathematician?
Personally it is important to me to feel that I am a mathematician and a teacher of mathematics if I am to truly show a love of mathematics.
I’m not sure how to change this, I guess in a way we perhaps need to fight against some intellectual snobbery!
I’d be really interested to hear your views on this topic…