A Springfield Missouri first grade teacher has discovered how to overcome math anxiety, and she is sharing her discoveries and methods with her young students.

When Katie Baker was growing up, she did not know that math would become her passion.  In fact, she had no idea she was good at math at all.

She could see patterns, memorize formulas, and solve equations.  But on tests or worksheets, she often struggled to complete her work on time.

“I just felt like I couldn’t keep up,” said Baker, who is a first grade teacher at Holland Elementary. “I understood it. I just wasn’t fast.”

Today, she draws on her experiences and early doubts, and helps youngsters who have math anxiety or hate math.

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“It’s really sad to me that a student, at 6 years old, thinks they cannot do math. I’m trying to reverse that,” she said.

“I tell them ‘Your way of getting to the answer might be different than your neighbor. We just need to get you there.”

Math isn’t a separate block of time in Baker’s classroom.  It is integrated into nearly every activity, beginning with the calendar in the morning. She favors hands on lessons.

“We do math throughout the day,” she said. “Math is everywhere.”

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