I have checked and checked and checked the NYSED site, and for the life of me I haven't seen any math component on any of the tests that they require teacher candidates. However, I ask you about this because I am scared that I am somehow missing something on the site and that they indeed have some math to be done for their tests. I know that NY doesn't require the PRAXIS I (Yay!), but since I know that they have their own version of it, I wonder if there is a math component that I have somehow missed. Is it hidden indeed, or does NY really NOT force prospective teachers (unless they are math teachers, of course) to test on any math? I am absolutely awful at understanding anything beyond adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing! Thanks kindly for any help that you could provide!

Hello, Ms. Holyoke, and thanks for replying! I truly appreciate it! I am working towards completing my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (with a licensure in K-12 Spanish). I plan to teach secondary Spanish, although, while substitute teaching at an elementary school recently, I have fallen utterly in love with early childhood education. I have had to work (for the past few months) on a first grade class whose teacher is on maternity leave, and I already adore those kids! The problem is that, if I wanted to get a job as an actual teacher for kids that age, I would have to get either an elementary education or an ECE credential, but I believe that even to teach basic arithmetic to ECE kids, I would have to be good at college math. I am not.

If you're getting licensed for Spanish, I don't think any of your tests will have math. (At least that's how it is in MA.) However, if you want to teach early childhood or elementary, you definitely need to have strong basic math skills. It's not even about passing a test, it's also about having the knowledge and understanding to teach mathematical concepts effectively. However, I'm currently taking "college math" and I really don't think you need to know college math to teach Early Childhood Education. You most likely need good algebra skills and a strong grasp of elementary and middle school math. In order to teach middle school or high school math, college math is important and useful!

The LAST is gone. No, you won't need any math for your tests. You'll need to take the Spanish CST, the EAS, and a ALST, plus the edTPA.

For Early Childhood Education (B - gr 2), it seems the CST (Content Specialty Tests) must be taken. For Early Childhood Education, it requires a test that has literacy and math. I may be wrong. I doubt that there is a no math option for any teacher teaching elementary level students (even the youngest ones).

Seems there isn't anymore (but only for certain tracks, not for all), and thank HEAVENS for that. Seriously, we all have different skills and aptitudes, and some of us are simply not "wired" for math. I have enough math frustration to last me a lifetime (what with being forced to do math all through my school years), and I don't need any more of that. Besides, if by "basic math skills" they meant adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, I would be fine with taking a so-called basic math skills test. But no...they usually have geometry, statistics, probability, algebra, and such, which, let's be honest, I don't need in order to teach Spanish or English. I respect other points of view, but this is how I see it. Thanks to everyone who replied!

You are right. I already saw the practice materials that the New York State Education Department provides for the Early Childhood Education CST, and it indeed contains some geometry and algebra. Ugh.

While I agree you don't need math to teach Spanish or English, I would definitely want any of my kids' general elementary teachers to have a solid understanding of basic math -- yes, including geometry, algebra, and statistics. At least for anything over second grade. If you do become credentialed and seek jobs, I would suggest you either improve your math skills or be very up-front with potential employers about your lack of math skills to ensure they don't put you in any roles where you would not be successful.

If you want to teach, you need to have a strong understanding of basic math. Any math required on the new exams I'm sure aren't much higher than 10th grade level. Did you take the GRE? It's nothing compared to that.

If I did find a way to get credentialed for grade school teaching, I'd want to do it to work with either K or 1rst grade teachers. That being said, I am one of those teachers that questions how we force students, all students, to excel at higher levels of math, when we all know that some people are simply not “designed” or “wired” for math. We tend to forget that there are multiple kinds of intellectual strengths, but we insist on pushing square pegs into round ones even if it kills us (and kills the child's spirit, if he happens to be one of those who can't get math). I know...blasphemous, right? If my kids happen to be math geniuses, great, but if they happen to not be able to do anything beyond adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing, I'll be fine too. I'll focus on what they can do and make sure that their other strengths are, and I will certainly make sure that they are not made to feel like they are losers or somehow “less” for not being good at math.

Nope. I didn't take the GRE, which I think is a ridiculously unnecessary way to gauge one's potential to be a grad student. I made sure to attend a graduate program that didn't require it. And no, as a secondary language arts or L2 teacher I certainly don't need to know math.

Dyscalculia aside, absolutely everyone is "wired" for math. I'm also not sure there is a K-12 language certificate in New York. The only K-12 certificates are for special subjects like music, theatre, dance, etc. Where exactly did you see you would be getting a K-12 cert?

But it's not up to you to decided what a student's potential is. If you allow a student who struggles with math to stop doing math, then that student will struggle with math in middle school and high school...and that student won't have the opportunity to pursue a career that involves mathematics. I'm sure that many students don't like math, but learning it gives them options for the future.

:thumb: I've seen those that were severely struggling get the right instruction and then excel in math. I think the biggest problem is so few know how to help a student with math and rely on strategies to give the appearance of progress instead of fixing the underlying issues.

I believe it's absolutely ok to be “bad” at math. We can excel at plenty other things that have absolutely nothing to do with algebra/geometry/probability/statistics, and be extremely successful in life without them What I think is not ok is to make children believe that without math, they won't be able to be “all that they can be” or they will “squander their potential” or some other sentiment like that. It's ok...I will agree to disagree. I know that these views will never make me popular among other teachers. I'm fine with that.

Natural ability has very little to do with math. Blaming a low-level math ability on a lack of "natural math ability" is a cover for a lack of hard work and application. Not trying to be rude. I'm just saying it's true in general. There is no such thing as being bad at math.

However, we would never tell a student that it's okay to be "bad" at reading. Why is math any different?

So much of the reason why people go through life calling themselves bad at math is because nobody ever bothered telling them any differently. It's a pure attitude issue. Math is naturally harder for some people than others. Everybody has their own academic strengths and weaknesses. There's no reason why anybody of average intelligence couldn't learn to be a math person with the right attitude, the right instruction, etc. Speaking as an elementary teacher... I'm sometimes worried that too many teachers don't consider themselves "math people," and end up passing that attitude to their students. One of my (base school) teammates claims she could never do the math I teach because she can barely do it herself. I wonder what attitude gets passed to her students. Meanwhile, every now and then, I'll pull out a problem from a 7th grade textbook and have my kids do it. They don't do them the "right way," but they find a way to get there, because nobody ever bothered to tell them they don't know how to do it.

All great, thoughtful answers, but I'll agree to disagree. If anybody could 'do' math, then everyone would be able to 'do math. It's cool; I truly appreciate your responses. I'll just continue avoiding math like the plague, and I will certainly continue helping my students focus on the strengths that they do possess. :-D

Wow. Well, I think it's perfectly reasonable for someone to claim, with validity, that they have a "knack" for one content area, but not another. I worked very hard in learning foreign languages in HS and college (and on my own) and I never manage to do well. For whatever reason, it's always been very difficult for me no matter what what my motivation or effort I put into it. So, I do sympathize with someone who feels that they are not "wired" for math. That being said, I do think standards for all teachers should be high, and a basic knowledge of math should be a requirement. :sorry:

Devil's advocate (er, sorta...that's not really the right wording): How do each of you define "bad at [insert subject here]"?

I'm not a math teacher per se, unlike Mike. But I agree with him unhesitatingly. For every domain that a good elementary teacher subject-matter test covers - EVERY domain - I have worked with at least one aspiring teacher, and more often dozens, who claimed to want nothing to do with it. (What do I mean, "EVERY domain"? Math, for sure. History, quite regularly. Science, definitely. Art and/or music, yes. PE, you bet. Literature, 'fraid so. Writing, surprisingly often. Even reading? Even reading.) "Kevin" and people like him confided in me about acquiring their aversion from teachers who were vindictive or brutal or merely callous enough to make me yearn for a crowbar and a time machine. "Jean" and her ilk told of teachers who hadn't the skill or the inclination to figure out how to help a kid from out of state fill in the gaps, or who papered over their own ignorance and terror by fostering misinformation that subsequently blew up in the kid's face. "Sharon" and many like her had no story so hair-raising, but either they intuited that beloved Mrs. Whatsis didn't like subject matter X and concluded that they shouldn't like it either, or someone else modeled for them that, for Our Kind Of People, it is acceptable to hate or fear some specific subset of human knowledge. There are two powerful ways to help people overcome backgrounds like these. One is to be knowledgeable, kind and affirmative. The other is to model for students how to overcome such an aversion by honestly facing and overcoming an aversion of one's own.

I thought I was bad at math. Then I had to take a college-level math class with an emphasis on probability to complete my certification. Rockhubby (then Rockboyfriend) decided to teach me how to play poker. Bingo, I got an A on the probability portion of that part of the class, bringing me up to the ONLY A I've received in a math class. Instead of simply patting me on the head and saying, "It's okay. You're an English teacher. You don't need to know about math and science," he found a way to apply the lessons I needed to learn. It's why I'm now attempting to master Calculus so I can start following his conversations about Geophysics. In other words, when there's a will, there's a way. It's a matter of finding the reason to use the math.

Would it be okay for a math teacher to be bad at writing, grammar, and reading? Aloud to students in the class "Okay, kids, we done gonna study them there polynomials next week." In the newsletter Deer parents, in are math class, we gonna be working hard next week we won't be doing no easy problems.