Story of a legendary teacher
Wootube star Eddie Woo understands just how hard maths is – and considers it one of his greatest assets as a teacher.
Eddie Woo is famous for making maths fun. Head Teacher of Mathematics at Cherrybrook Technology High School, winner of the 2017 CBA Teaching Awards and creator of a much-loved YouTube channel, Eddie is opening up doors for thousands of young people to understand the beauty behind numbers. We wanted to know the secret behind his teaching success, and asked Eddie a few questions about how he came to be such a star.
Hi Eddie! Tell us, how would you describe yourself?
I’m a people person who loves to communicate and inspire others on a personal level. I love to mentor people and see them grow.
When did you first get switched on to maths?
At university, when I first began to explore maths for myself. I sought to push the envelope of my understanding by explaining it to others, and finally gained a profound knowledge where before I had just a cursory grasp of what the topics and skills of maths were about. Now I revel in showing students the surprising, powerful and elegant aspects of maths so they can reason soundly and wonder deeply.
What has been your favourite project so far?
My Youtube channel Wootube, which takes my classroom lessons and makes them available for anyone in the world to watch. Wootube has gained more than 30,000 subscribers and its videos have been watched millions of times.
What’s been your biggest fail on this journey?
Thinking that it was enough for me to do my job in isolation from others. I’m part of a community of learners who have a responsibility to one another to be co-learners who expand our reach out into the world together.
What is your advice to students who want to have a career in maths?
Find the points of connection with your existing passions. I have always loved English and history, and my passion for communication and narrative has become a core part of how I understand and explain maths.
What’s your dream job or biggest future goal?
I’m already in my dream job! My biggest future goal is to change the way maths is learned around the world – so that all people realise that mathematicians are not people who find maths easy, but the ones who enjoy how hard it is and persevere.
Why do you think we need careers in maths?
The fundamental stuff of reality, not to mention society and our modern technological world, is full of patterns and relationships – and maths is the only way that we can perceive, understand and manipulate those patterns and relationships for the good of humanity and the cosmos.
What’s the most exciting areas that you see emerging that have maths at the core?
Artificial intelligence! It will change the world forever.
What is something surprising about you that not many people know?
I have always found maths an immense challenge to understand – and I think that is one of my best assets as a teacher because it helps me empathise with those who find it difficult.
What advice do you have for women looking to be leaders in maths?
Every field in the world – including maths – needs a diversity of views, values, perspectives and approaches to problem solving. From the invention of the first computer to the creation of the algorithms and calculations that got humanity into space, women have been at the forefront of mathematical understanding throughout history – and we need them to continue well into the future!
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“We have a responsibility to be co-learners who expand our reach out into the world together.”
Author: Elise Roberts
Elise is a science, tech and business enthusiast, motivated to connect people with research that will propel their success. With over ten years’ experience working at the intersection of technology and communications across a wide range of industries, Elise enjoys jumping on the latest trends in digital media to share new knowledge with the Australian community.