It’s not always as simple as 1,2,3. Math is a subject that students struggle with worldwide, and in London specifically, only 50% of grade six elementary students are meeting the provincial standards. The statistics across Ontario are a cry for help, and that’s why programs like Mathnasium exist.
Mathnasium London North and South locations are tutoring centres for students of all ages and grades, elementary or high school, to seek the help they needs. Co-owner of Mathnasium London, Jessie Bergmann, says they start off by finding out “where the wheels fell off” and work from there – not by grade. He says too often students are introduced to new math concepts before mastering previous ones, and that’s why it’s important to not focus on grade level when it comes to taking the right steps toward success.
Bergmann says the reason he believes so many students struggle with math, is often all in the head. “It’s 100 percent a confidence issue. Students like math at early stages in their lives, then when they can’t do the harder problems later on in life, they start to associate not being able to do math with how smart they are,” says Bergmann. Mathnasium is designed to help students on a come-and-go basis, in and out “like a gym” – unlimited amount of hours with their memberships. Children are all given lesson planned tailored to individual needs, and basic concepts are practiced before the homework is even brought to the table.
Western University student, Ryan Elayas, struggled with math for years. “I was never really good at math, the numbers always jumbled up and I could never figure it out as fast as some of the kids in my class,” says Elayas. However, he says his hard work and dedication ultimately lead him to the marks he tried to reach – attending after-school hours with his teachers, and receiving tutoring sessions.
Elayas says he knew he wasn’t alone when it came to the struggle, but that it was easy to give up at the time. Programs like Mathnasium aim to stray kids away from that mentality, and preach that it’s all ages and sizes who have problems with the condense subject. “It’s not about what grade your in or how smart you are, I have 200lbs, 6″2 football players crying at my doors because they don’t get it,” says Bergmann.
After working hard at math throughout his high school career, Elayas developed an appreciation for the hard work it takes to be good at the subject. “Math is always going to be one of those things that when you don’t get it, you’re going to hate it. But when you do get it, you’re going to love it,” says Elayas. He later went on to applying to the Engineering program at Western and was accepted.
“I think it’s important to give back and help out students so they don’t have to struggle in the same ways I did,” says Elayas. “That’s why I tutor kids elementary and high school now. Just seeing that light bulb go off in their heads when they finally get it is such a rewarding feeling.”
Programs like Mathnasium and people like Ryan are here to help anyone who may have the same struggles with math. With hard work and dedication, the hurdles may not be as high as you may think.