This week the Australian Story featured a maths teacher from a Sydney suburban high school. One maths teacher, Eddie Woo, with a story on the national stage.
“He sucked me into maths”
A student recalled being in Eddie’s class. She felt inadequate at maths, but Eddie didn’t let that get in the way. His personal mission is to get all kids to love maths and experience success. He shares his love of maths with the world. Every maths lesson is recorded and uploaded to his YouTube channel, WooTube. We saw students in remote areas accessing his online classes. Eddie sees his reach beyond the gates of his school.
In Eddie’s class there is only one rule,
“We treat each other like humans“
As a student Eddie went to a selective high school, one with a reputation the high flyers in the state, and with his grades, Eddie’s parents expected him to become a doctor or a lawyer. They could not understand that their smart son would want to be a teacher. Eddie’s inspiration to teach came from a couple of teachers at his school. He recalled how the teacher just simply asked “How are you going?” In his life, adults hadn’t talked to him in such a personal way. The small connections matter.
In the program we met a next- generation teacher, inspired by Eddie to study education. If you are a teacher, would your students think,
“I want to do that with my life”?
There are probably many pressures that Eddie has to deal with in the day-to-day, he is the head of maths, after all. However, Australian Story focused on this teacher, not because he is good at keeping his paperwork in order, but because of his passion for his subject and his investment in the lives of students, sharing the love of maths with the world.
So what were the some of the characteristics I saw in Eddie Woo?
Fun and laughter
Care and concern
Determination and drive
Belief that kids can succeed
Willingness to share his knowledge
Passion (for people and his subject)
Is this the job description we need for teachers?