The story was very close to home, it was about an amazing maths teacher called ‘Sir’ or ‘Mr. Penrose’ and how he’s transformed the opportunities and abilities of high school kids at a high school not far from me. His teaching methods helps kids to understand and enjoy math and has supported them to a level they’d never expected, going from failing math to being able to eventually study engineering at university.
The beginning of the article started with, “Hello, I’m Mr. Penrose. Anyone here born rich?” Not a single student rose their hand. “No? Me either. Let’s get you an education then.”
Mr. Penrose wasn’t always a maths teacher though, starting off life at the meat works where he was responsible for tallying up the meat with great speed and accuracy. It was at this job that alarm bells rang and he realised that it was an education he needed to go where he wanted and so he did his senior year over again at night school and got into University where he would study pure Mathematics.
I wish I had Mr. Penrose in high school, perhaps I wouldn’t have hated Math so much, I couldn’t’ understand it and had shitty support.
Before reading this article, I was very much in the mindset that your success in school has a lot to do with the teachers, not only the way they teach but their passion for the topic they teach. I can honestly say that I didn’t have one teacher that was like that in high school. I truly believe that if I had a teacher that followed through with their comments on assignments and exams, offered more support or perhaps made their classes more interesting, I would have done much better.
Fast forward to my university years and as someone who hated math and numbers and almost flunked maths full stop (and that was the easy maths), I got distinctions in Accounting and Statistics.
What was the difference?
I actually enjoyed what I was learning and the topics were taught well, in a way I understood.
Mr. Penrose supports my experience by saying in the article, “Everybody should be able to learn maths…it just depends on the stimulus they receive.” I truly believe this.
This brings me to schooling and Elliott. I know he’s only young, a month shy of 3, but I’m big on education. I have a number of schools in mind where I’d like to send Elliott when the time comes but my problem is (and what I worry about the most) is that I might not send him to the right school.
You can’t really pick and choose your teachers or take them on a trial run even. It’s all good sending Elliott to a school which I believe is great, but when it comes down to the teacher, how do I really know?
To me, picking a school for Elliott is a huge gamble. I certainly don’t ever want to get to a point where I have to take him out of a school and move him to another, so I wonder how to get it right in the first place? Were the people that sent their kids to Mr. Penrose’s school and whose kids ended up in his class just lucky?
I know there’s not going to be a Mr. Penrose in every school, so I guess the best I can do is my thorough research and ask questions. The reality is that not every teacher loves their job or has the passion that Mr. Penrose does. I just hope that when it comes to Elliott’s schooling, he has the opportunity to have a teacher that will guide and support him because his future is essentially in their hands.
So how did you select your child’s school? How did you know the teaching abilities of the teachers at the school?