World over, an irrational fear of numbers is common, especially among young students. Mathematics is often synonymous with anxiety which can be highly detrimental to an individual.
Absence of a good Math foundation in the formative years of a child can lead to a lifelong fear of it. This was the reason behind Manan Khurma founding Cuemath in 2013. “We require a new kind of classroom, one with no blackboards. A classroom where Math is not learnt by memorising but by reasoning. Universally, Math is considered one of the toughest subjects, and the word ‘subject’ is at the heart of the problem. Math is a life skill. And no life skill can be taught on a blackboard,” he says.
Cuemath addresses this ‘mindset problem’ and helps kids unlock their full potential. With over 2,500 teachers and 20,000 students across the nation, the platform helps kids learn Math the fun way. An extensive screening process consisting of rounds of interviews and Math proficiency tests is conducted for people willing to become teacher-partners with Cuemath. These teachers become facilitators of the Math curriculum built by Cuemath and receive continued training even after they become certified Cuemath teachers.
While the model is not restricted to women only, the number of female Cuemath teaching partners is higher. “There are millions of educated and qualified women who at a vital stage in their careers decide to leave their full-time jobs due to personal commitments. Cuemath has provided a platform for these women to run their own home-based learning centres and fulfill their career aspirations in turn bringing a balance between personal and professionals commitments,” says Khumra.
One such Pune-based teacher is Anita Kahate, who joined Cuemath in January 2016 after having worked in the IT industry for 15 years. “Being a Mathematics lover, I was looking for something interesting related to it and I came across Cuemath. I decided to join it since I liked the concept, design and transparency. It is definitely helping to build Math foundation in all my students. Along with workbooks, the tab-based mental aptitude is introducing students to a new interesting aspect of Math and puzzle cards are building their creative thinking in multi-fold directions,” she says.
As teachers, these women are using new techniques to make Math interesting, which is bringing about a change in children’s attitude towards it. “I have seen a total transformation in the attitude of kids towards Math once they started coming for Cuemath. The biggest haters became the biggest Math lovers. And I think that’s the biggest achievement for me as a Cuemath Teacher Partner,” exclaims Ramika Jhulka who joined Cuemath in November 2015. “As a teacher, I have learnt a lot too and my perception towards education and its delivery has completely changed. Thinking beyond marks and grades is the need of the hour and Cuemath has been able to fulfill it with its amazing teaching methodologies,” she says.
In the Cuemath pattern, not more than six to eight students are taught in a batch, with the use of puzzle cards, workbooks, tabs and the math-box to ensure that they are engaged throughout.
“It is self-paced, without a timeline on a child to do a certain activity by a certain time, focusing on them understanding concepts, instead of arriving at answers,” elaborates Khumra who has in the past trained students for IIT-JEE entrance exams.
Aditi Joshi, who was a full-time lecturer at a city college and joined Cuemath a couple of years ago because she wanted to be with her daughters, says, “My passion for work was also calling me. I attended the Cuemath induction programme and liked the concept very much. This was a win-win situation for me at home as well as work front as Cuemath offers home-based learning centres. I have experienced total satisfaction till date as I am pursuing my passion for teaching and contributing towards shaping the future generation. Small gestures of love from these kids make me feel on top of the world.”
Happiness, she says, “is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude and I am quite sure that every Cuemath teacher must be experiencing this happiness in each of her Cuemath class!”