Many people often wonder what it means to be doing mathematics.  To me, doing mathematics is getting involved and participating in the learning of mathematics.  I think that it is a requirement to “get your hands dirty” and really get involved in mathematics in order to do mathematics.  In chapter 1 of our textbook, the author discusses different ways of doing mathematics, which include problem solving, reasoning and proof, communications, connections, and representation.  Each of these are different ways to do and understand mathematics, but in order to be effective in doing math, all of the ways must coincide with one another.  I think that in order to effectively do mathematics, one must be able to apply the above stated and use them in mathematics. 

            Learning mathematics is when the student, either young or old, fully understands the mathematical concepts taught.  There is more to mathematics than just learning, though.  One must be able to apply the concepts learned to have a full understanding of what math really is.  Math does not just stop in doing math or learning math because math is everywhere.  You must do the math to learn it and you must also learn the math to do it.  I think that learning mathematics can happen in the classroom, on the street, or in a restaurant; mathematics is something that can be learned anywhere at anytime. 

            Teaching mathematics is being able to have students understand the method and apply it.  If a math lesson is taught effectively, the students will remember the processes as time passes.  The students may forget formulas, but they will always remember the mathematical processes if the lesson was taught effectively.  It is important to have a genuine love for mathematics when teaching it, too, because one’s attitude is reflected in teaching.  One lesson may inspire a student to also love mathematics.  Therefore, when teaching mathematics, we must always show our enthusiasm and excitement for the subject that we also love most.
    Mathematics was always my best subject when I was in elementary and middle school.  I started to enjoy mathematics more as I got older, but especially when I got to high school.  I am not exactly sure when I knew I wanted to teach mathematics; I just knew that I wanted to teach in a middle school.  I initially wanted to teach science, but decided that I wanted to teach mathematics instead because that was the subject that I really enjoyed.  In looking back, I always had poor math teachers in middle school.  I think this is one of the main reasons of why I want to teach middle school math; I feel that I can make a difference in students attitudes towards math at that age level and hopefully inspire them to continue pursuing mathematics in the future.
In teaching middle school mathematics, I hope to inspire many students and instill in them a love for mathematics.  I hope that I can help my students gain a better understanding and appreciation for mathematics, which I think is one of my biggest goals once I begin to teach.  I will be pleased with myself if I make a difference in the life of one student both mathematically and personally.  Another major goal is to have all of my students continue with mathematics in their future, and hopefully take higher-level math courses in both high school and college.  I think that it would be very interesting, too, to check with students once they have gone to college and see how much my math class influenced them to take the path that they decided to take.  Overall, I am excited to become a middle school math teacher.  I hope that I can inspire students to love mathematics as much as I do, and also teach them in a way that they will never forget.