Mathematics is always being challenging subject for me, and also for many other students as well. I remember, when I entered primary school as a third grader, my mathematics teacher gave me and also my friends a lot of assignments to be done. What a pain was that most of them were about remembering or memorizing such as multiplication tables or formulas. At that time, mathematics was not favorite subject of mine.
Meanwhile, looking back at the classroom, I remember my math teacher at the third grade. She was actually my home teacher at that class, since in Indonesian school contexts, there only one teacher for all subjects in the grade 1 until 3. She was very kind and nice teacher. But, in the certain moment, when the students could not memorize the multiplication table for example, she would be angry and gave the students a punishment like a lot of home works. Also, since she was a teacher for all subjects in the third grade, she could not arrange and think deeper about the topics in mathematics or even how to teach those topics to the students.
Furthermore, there are also several bad evidences in my classroom at that time. The teacher taught the students in a book-oriented way. We as a student have to buy the book, either from the teacher or the book shops, in order to use it in the classroom. The students who do not have it would find difficult to follow the learning process in the classroom and gave a very bad effect on their score. Apart from it, the teacher tended to teach the students in a so called traditional approach of teaching mathematics. She, as a teacher, was the one who mastered the topics and have to transfer all of the information and knowledge to the students who were considered as a receiver. If I and my friends fail to understand something or in the exams, it would be considered as our faults and we have to take remedial in order to get a better score.
Facing those kinds of teaching and learning process made me confused, boring and sometimes frustrated. I struggled with mathematics, especially when it came to the problems requiring formulas or rules. Instead of being an active learner, I became a very quite person in the classroom. The causes, perhaps, due to the rules of the classroom or because of my lack of understanding about mathematics or both. Listening carefully and quietly to the teacher’s explanation were considered as a rule that every student has to take into account. Otherwise, they would be considered as a naughty student. One of anecdotes that was rising among students about learning mathematics is that, mathematics means “mati” or dead. It derived from Indonesian language – matematika – and students just take “mati” from the middle of that word.
In conclusion, mathematics in the time when I studied it in the third grade was taught in a traditional way of teaching. I was struggling in dealing with mathematics problems and formulas. Also, the teacher only transferred the information and knowledge to the students, without paying attention the development of students.