Profitable Careers in Mathematics

BMO FinancialIn spite of the mathematics decline in schools across America in recent years, being a high school mathematics teacher sometimes keeps me distracted from what else is going on in the workforce. Friends like to joke with me and say, “Those who can’t do, teach,” and sometimes I take this to heart a little too much. But regardless of my own personal experiences with my mathematical knowledge, there are other attractive job opportunities on the market where attaining a math degree can be very rewarding more so now than before. I will present some of them here in hopes to motivate those who are still sitting on the fence about what career to pursue based upon the benefits of arithmetic.

I suppose it would only be appropriate for me to begin with the field of mathematics. Such professions in computer services, banking, insurance, education and industry will all branch out from the formidable tree of math if you obtain a college major in it. For those starting out in these careers, the median starting salary is placed around $47,000 annually. If you continue on to the mid-career stage then a salary of $97,600 per year is not out of reach. That doesn’t sound too shabby if I do say so myself. [Read more...]

The Decline of Math in US Schools

MathOver my career as a high school math educator I have literally seen the interest and drive from students to excel in mathematics come to a serious decline. When I say decline I’m not just talking about a very slow and gradual process but rather one that has practically arrived over night. I wasn’t very surprised when I learned that schools across America soon began to minimize math standards to where they had never been before.

I can still recall when I was quite younger and teaching in the late 1990s there were many occasions when students would work up the nerve to ask me why they even needed to learn a lot of the content I was teaching them. Algebra and the Pythagorean Theorem were two of the most common subjects that would trigger such questions. I would always reply with the same answer and tell them that they needed to learn these areas of math because they would use them some day. I could tell that my response was only effective about half of the time. But here and now two decades later, I’m getting this inquiry almost on a weekly to monthly basis and I’m running out of convincing explanations.

So why exactly is this all going on then? What is causing it? There is no doubting that it is happening right now. When an international look at the competitiveness of mathematics was conducted, the results found that America has now been grouped somewhere in the middle of the bundle when it comes to not only mathematics, but science and technology as well. Students from nations such as China and South Korea have picked up the ball where America has dropped it. A separate international study was also carried out when 150 000 people aged 16 through 65 were questioned in 24 different nations. The results for our country here in the U.S. were absolutely embarrassing to say the least. We used to be one of the global leaders in technology and innovation but now we’ve more than lost our edge. [Read more...]

Careers That Use Math Everyday

AstronomyHello again, it’s everyone’s favorite middle-aged high school math teacher, me. Okay, I’m kidding obviously but I do hope you are getting something out of my little math-related blogs that I get to make available from time to time. I’m an educator and most importantly I just want people to learn, regardless of their age.

Right now I want to talk a little more about the importance of mathematics and how it can be applied to everyday life – especially from the career aspect. Despite how many have adverse feelings about arithmetic, I would like to encourage those that enjoy it to really grasp and understand what options they have available to them. When you take this subject as seriously as I do, you may very well be surprised at what potential jobs are available out there on the market. The economy certainly can’t be trusted to self-correct any time soon, so if you feel that you have a genuine love and strength in mathematics then you should take the remainder of this article to learn and reflect upon what future options might be accessible to you.

I first want to zero in on some of the professions that require the more vigorous and advanced mathematical capabilities. Even for those that have limited imaginations, it should be uncomplicated to assume that office and classroom-oriented careers such as mathematicians, physicists, drafters, accountants, cost estimators and professors will fall into this classification. [Read more...]

A New Way of Teaching

We live in a digital world these days and that’s the way most schools are going. I can remember using a blackboard and chalk to get my point across, now its computers and tablets and digital presentations.  For some of the old-school teachers it can be a bit difficult to get to grips with some of these things but I found a number of mobile apps that can make lessons easier to teach and more fun – and fun is something we all need in our lives!

  • Apps for Screen Casting

Presentations are an important part of teaching, even Math and there are some pretty good apps that let you create video presentations. Your students can create their own videos as well and many of these apps work together.

  • Apps for Note Taking

We all hate taking notes. By the end of the lesson your handwriting is complete unreadable, you’ve lost all feeling in your hand and your brain is numb.  There are a number of note taking apps that make the job a doddle, leaving your students more time to concentrate on the lesson.

  • Apps for Cloud Storage

It’s the done thing. No one keeps their files on their computers or in a filing cabinet any more, it’s all put in the cloud.  This is a good thing for teachers who use computers in their classes – it means lessons are easily accessible by everyone and your files are completely backed up. Students can submit their homework online now, no need for carrying heavy books or complaining that the dog ate their homework!  If your school doesn’t have access to cloud storage, suggest they contact this company

  • Apps for Presentation

These are different to the screen casting apps. These make it easy for a teacher to give a professional presentation, whether it is to a class of students or to a room full of school governors. 

  • Apps for Classroom Management

There are plenty of apps that will help you to organize your classroom. Classroom management apps let you arrange seating, picking students to do specific tasks, etc. There are also the more advanced ones that work if you and your students all use mobile devices to work on as they help you to synchronize them all and work together more effectively.

Gearing up for Math Con in Rio!

It isn’t only students and young professionals who look forward to conventions. There’s the Star Trek convention as well as the ever popular comicon (short for comics convention) which draw in millions of fans every year. It’s as much a circus as a grand arena filled with people clad in colorful and ostentatious costumes. The funny thing is people really look forward to these events. Some even prepare their costumes for next year as soon as the comicon event concludes.

In the math world, there is also such a thing as a Math convention. It’s not as colorful or as well-attended and covered by the media, but for us participants, it’s certainly something to look forward to. Personally, I’ve only attended a few such events because of budget and time constraints. Having children means I cannot travel abroad as much as I wanted to. Being a teacher also means filling in for other duties in the school such as chaperoning during proms and other school events.

Anyway, I’m all excited about this year’s math convention because it’s going to be held in Brazil. It’s a country that I had visited in one of my South America tours when I was still in college. The country is very popular this year because of the World Cup competitions. While I am not a fan of the sport, the idea of witnessing the grand carnivals in Rio is enough to make me all worked up. It’s something fun, magical and breathtaking. For a moment there, you can forget that you are a mousy math teacher and just join in the fun and the dancing.

The best par about it is that I’ll be traveling with my co teachers. Imagine mathcon to be something like a camp for teachers. There are games, quiz bees, cooking competitions as well as battle of the bands. Yes, there will be a soccer match too since it will be taking place in Brazil. This year’s math convention promises to be an all-out extravaganza to help math teachers gain more confidence and break stereotypes. I can’t wait to get there!

Loving Numbers But Losing My Eyesight

Beethoven is considered as one of the greatest classical musicians and composers ever. What made him really stand out among the greats is his composition of his latter symphonies without the use of his hearing. In a way, he saw music as he wrote it down for others to listen and appreciate. As a person who loves numbers and math, yet with failing eyesight, I know how that must feel, that you are doing your work without the use of one of the most important faculties needed in your job. In my case, I can write down the equations, but I would have to squint my eyes when I review them.

Checking and Grading Papers

A lot of people think that because I am a math teacher, my life is a lot easier. True, I do not have to read long essays but checking test papers wherein students have to show their solutions before arriving at the final answer is also difficult. You know how illegible some students write and this is one of the reasons that I have really resorted to the use of a magnifying lens whenever I check papers. This is inconvenient and slows down my process of grading and checking papers.

I’ve been teaching for a long time now and I started when grades had to be entered manually onto a ledger. I’ve also prepared lesson plans and created exams when a typewriter was considered the modern piece of equipment. Most of the time I wrote by hand, also wrote on the blackboard by hand until my hands ached and I could no longer breathe because of the chalk allergy. I have sacrificed the best part of my years to teach math to young students. You know what? I have loved every minute of it. Teachers were created to be selfless and giving – until everything starts to fail: your eyes, your back, your hands and so on.

After many years of doing things the old way, I had decided to do something good for myself. Two things actually. The first was getting a powerful laptop and learning how to do my lessons there. The second was consulting a very good ophthalmologist in Austin and listening to what he had to say about my eyes. It wasn’t very good, but I wasn’t a hopeless case either. I made a firm decision to do what was best for my eyes. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my years teaching and I won’t be able to do that if I don’t go to a center for Lasik in Austin Texas and get surgery for my eyes.

My friends and family were very supportive of my decision and even organized a small pre-surgery party. I am happy to say that the procedure went quickly and with hardly any discomfort. It has been six months and I have never seen more clearly. There’s no discomfort of wearing contact lenses or the awkward and clumsy eyeglasses that keep slipping down your nose.

The only ones who are not 100 percent happy are my students. I can see them chatting all the way down the back of the class and I can also easily check if they skipped a step in the problem solving exam I gave.

Connecting to Everyday Life: Enhancing Mathematics in the Classroom

Mathematics is one of the hardest subjects to teach in basic education – not because of its content, but because of the challenge of making it meaningful to students. As a subject that is synonymous with numbers or formulas written on the board or in a textbook, students don't have much opportunity to connect them to their everyday realities. This is the reason why, as math teachers, it is important to demonstrate that Math is not an abstract field to be scared of, but rather a fascinating subject that is useful and can be applied to various aspects of daily life!

Because the value of Math goes beyond just reading and solving problems within the classroom, here are a few tips that you should have in mind so that you and your students can both learn from the experience of connecting it to the real world:

• Instead of using textbook-based problems that are disconnected with the students' experience, tickle their mind with real life problems that require useful skills outside the classroom. For example, you can make them financially-savvy by asking them to compute profit from a bakery sale nearby or having them project their savings for the week or the month using a calculator and their allowance.

• It is great if you can incorporate fun into your lessons by employing activities that break the typical and boring routine of lecture and answer. One good idea is to integrate your lesson with other subjects, such as connecting the day's weather with computing temperature conversions. If you want to add a little twist, make it a fun game and add a time-limit to make the students think fast while enjoying themselves.

• The sky is the limit when choosing which aspects of reality you want your students to explore using numbers and formulas! Sometimes, it need not be something that everyone is familiar with. Give them possible scenarios such as the following: as a salesman of a reputable cargo container sales company with a client shipping toys worldwide, compute how many toys can fit into a ten-feet cargo container and how much your client can save.

These are just a few tips for aspiring math teachers who want to make a difference in the classroom. It would also help if you and your students utilize the Internet in searching for ideas that will make learning math easier and more pleasurable. To make it even more challenging, visit sites such as Cargo Container Sales and try to connect it to your lesson plan in the most coherent way possible.

Some Thoughts on Teaching

I’ve been teaching Math for over eight years now, and I can definitely say that it will ALWAYS be hard to make one’s students understand mathematical concepts. Still, even though this is the case, those who teach the subject have no right to not give it their best when teaching. This is why I make use of all the appropriate learning resources and teaching aids when I teach Math. Thankfully, my hard work pays off. My students are really doing great in class. The best part for me, however, is meeting my students sometime after they pass my class and then finding out that they never forgot the lessons I taught them. It’s really heart-warming.

One of the ways I teach my students mathematical concepts is by applying them to real life settings. For one, there are times when I’d talk about how even the smallest of things can affect the value of real estate. By showing them actual price fluctuations, I get to make them realize how some mathematical concepts are applied in important life situations.

There are times when I actually use an example from my own life. About a year ago, I had a roofing problem in one of my properties in Toronto. Unfortunately, I was looking to sell this property of mine. Thankfully, though, I found a roofing Toronto company (check their company website here) that was willing to offer its services at a very affordable price. Through the help of their certified contractors, I was able to deal with my roofing problem really fast. The best part was that the value of my property increased even more than I expected because of their work! It ended up being more valuable than it originally was. Considering how I didn’t spend a lot of money on the services of the company, I can definitely say that it was a boon. By telling this story to my students, they were able to realize why it’s important to learn Math, as well as see certain mathematical concepts in action.

Whenever I meet someone who has given up on their students in Math class, I always tell them about my work. I don’t get preachy or antagonistic, I just tell them my opinions on education in a factual manner. Thankfully, I have been able to convince a number of them to change their views and become more serious at teaching Math. These people ended up thanking me later; they found satisfiction in getting most of their students to learn hard mathematical concepts.

Hopefully, you’ll pick up something from this post of mine. You don’t have to be a Math teacher yourself in order to apply what I said here. Whether you’re a History teacher, a PE teacher, or even a company trainer or something, you really would do well to not ignore the poor progress of any single person in the “class” you’re teaching. As a teacher, it is your duty to really do your best in teaching your students. No excuses – remember this. You don’t exactly have to go telling stories about professional roofers (click here if you want to know more about the professional roofers I got help from) like I do; you can do something else, so long as it is effective at getting your point across.

The Importance of Owning Plastic Cards for Teachers

Plastic cards might commonly be used for businesses and groups. However, even individuals can maximize the use of plastic cards. In fact, if you are into teaching, you will definitely make the most out of these plastic cards. Here are some of the benefits that you might want to consider:

• These cards may be used to liaise with partner universities or other teachers in the locality. Instead of giving them the usual paper business card, plastic cards will actually stand out and is more durable. Therefore, if you need to be contacted, they can easily locate your contact information.

• When you are sent to another place to supervise your students in a competition, you can use the plastic cards as name tags for your bags. You can also create one for all your students. By then, it will be a lot easier to control them and avoid lost baggage.

• You can label all the properties belonging to you using the plastic card. Sometimes, teachers share almost similar looking items. Therefore, in order to identify which one is yours, this is the best solution.

• If you want your students to know all your possible contact information when you are away, then you can just give the cards out to them. They will then contact you with whatever means possible depending on the urgency of the matter.

The best part is that these plastic cards are actually cheap. If you are to buy in set, then you can save more. You may also design one depending on your chosen template. You can also choose the pictures and colors that go with it. Just take note that there is a special printer used in printing these cards. Therefore, if you don’t have one at home, it is best to have it printed outside. If you want, you can just design the card in advance so you can just have it printed once the overall design is over.

If you wish to check out more about plastic card printer, then visit this site. Hope you make the most out of your informative plastic cards.

Making Math Easy

Math shouldn’t be a hard subject. Unfortunately, though, many of the Math teachers out there make it so. This shouldn’t be the case. Math can be as easy as one wants it to be. Many of the students at the university I teach at (I’m not bragging here) prefer taking Math classes under me, and this is because I simplify Math for them. The good news for Math teachers who do want to make Math easy for their students is that in today’s world, there are many ways they can do so. Advances in computer technology have made it possible to teach many mathematical concepts easily through the use of certain computer programs.

In my case, I teach Statistics with the help of binary options trading. Of course, it goes without saying that I’m only able to do this in my classes in the college level (high school students aren’t allowed to do binary options trading). Although I don’t force my students to do binary options trading, I always tell them that doing it with Banc de Binary (a regulated brokerage that won’t rig my students’ trades) will teach them a lot of important statistical concepts. Also, I make it a point to tell them not to invest too much money. This is because we’re only doing binary options trading for educational purposes.

Each time my students place a trade with Banc de Binary, they end up learning about very important statistical concepts more and more (probabilities, correlations, etc.). It may seem unlikely seeing as binary options trading involves only two options, putting and calling, but binary options trading is actually much more complex than that. It actually mirrors Statistics as a field. After all, Statistics looks very simple when one just takes a quick look at it, but the more one analyzes it, the more one realizes that it’s more complex than it really should be.

Compared to the other Statistics classes, the ones I teach end up performing a lot better on major exams. The best part is that they are able to retain their knowledge long after they pass my course. This is the actually the best part for me. Grades don’t matter as much as the amount of statistical knowledge they are able to keep in their heads.

Hopefully, this post of mine ends up inspiring my fellow Math teachers to think of ways to make Math a much simpler subject to their students. Knowing a lot about Math can make one very successful later on in life; after all, jobs that require a lot of knowledge in Mathematics tend to pay a lot more than those that don’t.

Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about something more lighthearted: my first year teaching Math. When I started out, I actually didn’t immediately teach at the college level. I actually taught at a high school for a time. By talking about my first year teaching Math, I hope to get more Math majors to actually consider pursuing a career teaching the subject.

Making Math Relevant

As a math teacher, one of the most common complaints I hear is that what is being taught in my class has no bearing on “real life”. Now the first time I heard that from my students, it upset me. The idea that they thought they would never find any use from what I was teaching them made me feel like they believed I was doing a worthless job.

Making Connections

What was actually the problem was that I wasn’t relating what we were learning to what they believed they would be facing in the world. I already knew how important math was to every future job they would undertake. And I knew the importance of advanced math to a variety of careers.

But they never saw the connection because of their limited understanding. So what I did was put some context around the math we did. Now curriculums have been doing this for ages with story problems. The issue with these is that most of them aren’t very interesting to students. They either don’t relate to them or they contain subject matter that the students seem to find boring.

What I do to spruce it up is to change the story problems to something that applies to them. Now this takes a little work, but it starts by finding out about them at the beginning of the semester. I learn their interests and what they enjoy- the music they listen to, the hobbies they engage in, and so forth. Then I incorporate these things into the story problems. It also helps to make things relevant from a real life perspective. Sharing stories about students that have benefitted by learning math as a major before jumping into a career seems to really help students relate to the topic. Last year I used one of my Australian exchange students as an example. He lives in Melbourne and is a financial planner at a major firm in town which he credits for his huge passion for math. He has tons of money, and he figured out how to fund his passion for sports cars early on. He had to beef up to a bigger garage with massive garage doors to house all of his sports cars. He even splurged for some insulated garage doors when they were installed to protect his car collection from the extreme heat in Melbourne in the summertime. Sharing this story helped my students realize just how profitable having a math background can be.

Do Not Let the Subject Derail

The problem with teaching like this is that the conversation can quickly go into a direction that has nothing to do with math. You want to give them a little room to enjoy themselves. But when I used the example of sports cars in class, the boys started getting into an argument about which car was the faster one. Now maybe I could have used that as an excuse to start teaching about acceleration, speed and distance, but it’s too easy to let the students start taking over the lessons once you get them going.

So you want to ground the math in their interests as much as possible, but keep them on target as well. Steer the conversation when needed without trying to be too demanding about it. Remember that the class is about math and not whatever hobby you’ve decided to work into the lesson.

Constantly Relate

Math is one of those subjects where the deeper you get into it, the harder it will be to relate it to what most of your students will be doing later in life. Once you hit trigonometry and calculus, you are dealing with stuff that most of them will only rarely use in their careers. So how do you make it relevant to your students?

You first have to believe in the value of it yourself. If you don’t think that what you are teaching will be useful to them, then you are probably losing your motivation. I’ve found that the motivation I need for these advanced classes comes from the realization that only the best and brightest will be able to use these advanced math techniques.

I tell my students to think about how much more useful and important they will become in their careers if they are the ones who know how to do advanced math. They can find new solutions to problems that everyone else who works at that job will not be able to do. Advanced math is not an abstract set of concepts reserved for scientists and mathematicians. It is real-world applications and can be used in nearly any industry.

Your students need to know that they improve their career opportunities by developing skills that are hard to master. They also need to know that learning these kinds of things can make them smarter and able to perform high-level functions. It gives them the skills to excel in all that they do, and that is an invaluable resource no matter what they want to do with their lives.

When my students believe that what they are learning is important to them and that it applies to their lives, then they take a renewed interest in it. It becomes far less difficult to motivate them and get them to do the work properly.

A Rewarding Career Teaching Math at a Public School

I am a Math teacher. I have been teaching at a public school since I got my license to teach. Although I could have moved on to much more “financially rewarding” work, I chose to stay here at my school. Sure, it doesn’t pay well, but the satisfaction I get from being able to help financially disadvantaged students get the best education in Math (I’m not trying to brag here) will never compare to financial rewards. Now, if you are familiar with my lifestyle, then you are probably wondering how I’m able to afford it considering that the pay I get isn’t that high. In this post, I am going to talk about this. Hopefully, by doing so, I get more people to consider dedicating their lives to whatever their passion is.

Although financial rewards weren’t the first thing on my mind when I decided to dedicate my life to teaching Math to financially disadvantaged students, so many financial rewards just keep on coming my way. How is this so? The truth is that when you’re really doing a great job teaching kids and you’re serving a disadvantaged population, many philanthropic organizations will notice you. Each year, I receive grants and awards from these organizations, and it’s because I really do my best when it comes to my work. Because I can count on a fair bit of extra money to always come my way, I’m able to afford a more lavish lifestyle than the average public school teacher can afford.

When I first started receiving compensation from philanthropic organizations, the first thing I did was renovate my parents’ home in Toronto. I didn’t grow up in a well off family, so even though my family has lived in the same house in Toronto for more than half a century, they couldn’t improve on it or even maintain it as much they could have hoped. Anyhow, through the money I received from philanthropic organizations, I was able to start addressing each our home’s problems. The first of these happens to be its plumbing. Through my help, my parents were able to hire the best plumber Toronto citizens could hope to get help from. Yes, the guy who helped my parents wasn’t just a good plumber in Toronto, he was the best! In just a matter of a few hours, he was able to fix our home’s backflow and heating problems. The best part is that his way of doing things provided a long term solution to my parent’s home’s plumbing problems; they won’t expect to face any plumbing problem soon.

Anyhow, the point I’m driving at in this post is that people should just pursue their passion. If they are really good at what they do and they are really passionate about it, they will get noticed, and certain people will be more than willing to reward them for their services. I am not the only public school teacher who gets so many amazing rewards for doing amazing work, so I can definitely say that it isn’t an isolated case.

Stress Relief: Shooting Recreationally On The Weekends As A Math Teacher

Everyone who needs to find a form of stress relief must do their own research. People respond differently to different therapies, shooting on the weekends is a nice way to relieve stress that was built up during class the week before.

Every teacher who is stressed out by their administration, state deadlines, standardized testing and inattentive students can use a visit to the gun range to help calm down and relieve stress. Pulling a rifle or pistol out of a gun safe like the ones reviewed at this site and heading to the gun range is an exercise in relaxation.

Follow each of the steps below to find relaxation at the gun range on a Saturday or Sunday to prepare for the week ahead.

Shooting Requires Relaxation

Reading on about the best rifle scopes will reveal to every shooting enthusiast that the most inaccurate people in the trade are not relaxed. Preparing to go to the gun range requires relaxation, and the math teacher who is stressed about grading exams and preparing kids for Advanced Placement tests must calm down before they go to the gun range at all.

Shooting Requires Breathing

Accurate shooting at the gun range requires a steady set of inhalations and exhalations from the shooter. The best way for people to relax when they are at the gun range is to use breathing techniques that will help them shoot better.

The steps in the breathing process help people to relax and gain focus on the target in front of them. Each step is common in breathing and meditation, but these steps are also taught to the most skilled marksmen in the world.

Breathe In

The shooter must breathe in very slowly before pulling the trigger. A slow breathe through the nose is a good way to focus on the target and settle the body before taking a shot.

Squeeze The Trigger

Squeezing the trigger requires a slow exhalation. Shooters who exhale when they shoot are not holding tension in their body. This allows the gun to remain stable as the round is firing. Repeating this process will allow the shooter to take regular shots that are highly accurate.

The Stance

Standing in the gun range is just as important as breathing. The shooter who takes a proper stance will help to release tension from their body. Shooters who are handling pistols and rifles must keep their legs shoulder width apart, their knees relaxed and their shoulders down. The shooter should not raise their shoulder to meet the shoulder rest of the rifle. Also, the shoulder should not be raised to line up a shot with a pistol.

Following each of the relaxation techniques above gives the shooter a chance to reduce stress and shoot more accurately at the range. Going to the gun range on the weekend is a good way to blow off some steam, but a truly focused shooter will use breathing and body relaxation techniques to calm down. Rather than being tense all weekend, a teacher can go to the gun range and use relaxation techniques for their betterment.