UNLOCKING doors for students through showing them how “mathematics is music for the mind” keeps education ambassador and 11-year teacher Eddie Woo motivated to continue teaching.
Mr Woo, who is head math teacher in a suburban Sydney school, won the local hero award at the Australian of the Year Awards and is known for having more than 300,000 followers on his YouTube channel, Mister WooTube.
He has also headlined several shows on ABC, including his latest show, Teenage Boss, which premiered on June 24.
Mr Woo visited several Perth schools including Morley Senior High School today, in collaboration with Auspire – Australia Day Council of WA.
Speaking with the Reporter in a math classroom after his presentations, Mr Woo said it was a huge privilege to visit the school.
“This is where I am at home – working with students and being able to help turn the light on, that what excites me and energises me,” he said.
“It has been a heap of fun and such a warm welcome from everyone here at the school.”
Mr Woo said he wanted to help open people’s eyes that maths was more than numbers and equations.
“One of my favourite quotes is that ‘music is mathematics for the soul and mathematics is music for the mind’,” he said.
“I am convinced the longer that I teach mathematics, the main reason why people dislike it is they don’t know what it actually is.
“When I was younger, I learnt how to play the piano … for me, music as a young person was like torture, it was like something that people forced me to do that I hated and I had to spend endless hours.
“For most people, they view mathematics like that but I think we all know; music can actually be a beautiful and creative expression of the human soul (and) mathematics can be like that too.”
Mr Woo recalled changing a former student’s mindset on maths.
The student wanted to get into the construction industry and refused to study maths.
“I will never forget, there was a student of mine I taught, he was very strongly dyslexic so mathematics was really difficult…he just couldn’t read the symbols,” he said.
“For him to say this was like an obstacle, this was the hurdle, that was stopping him from having a life that he wanted.
“I could unlock that door for him – that is a privilege, to be able to give someone something that they can change their life profoundly.”
He said his goals for the rest of the year were to focus on teaching, launching his first book in September and continue visiting schools.
“My main job is I still teach in my classroom in suburban Sydney, so I have not put that down, I still want to keep doing that because I love it,” he said.
“For me, it is about more than earning money or having social status, it is about making it a real difference in people’s lives.”
He also urged people to nominate for the Australian of the Year awards which close in July.