I find that the problem with math education is the sink-or-swim approach. Everything is rapid fire, and the kids who get it first are the ones who are rewarded. So there comes to be a feeling that there are people who can do math and there are people who aren’t math people. I think that extended amount of time gives you the chance as a teacher to explain things, and more time for the kids to sit and digest everything that’s going on–to review, to do things at a much slower pace.
~ Frank Corcoran (in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success)
“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Thomas Edison couldn’t hold a job when he was young, and no one thought he would amount much to anything. Thomas Edison never made it as an inventor… until he did. Only you get to decide when you quit. No well intended friend, no parent who’s only trying to protect you, and no teacher, who’s supposed to bring out the best in you, can make you turn your back on something you’re passionate about. Because a teacher who brings you to failure, who wants you to quit, who hasn’t taught you anything, is… no teacher at all.
~ Mr. Matthews, “Girl Meets Rah Rah”, Girl Meets World
If you don’t let a teacher know at what level you are–by asking a question, or revealing your ignorance–you will not learn or grow. You cannot pretend for long, for you will eventually be found out. Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.