Just another WordPress.com site

The Lesson of Grace in Teaching

The following is the transcript of the MAA Haimo Teaching Award Lecture given by Francis Su at the 2013 Joint Math Meetings:


 His philosophy towards teaching as well as math is fascinating.  The following is a passage that particularly resonated with me, but it is definitely worth reading the entirety:

I’m not saying that achievement shouldn’t be rewarded.  There IS a place for credentials in academia.  We would not want to hear a talk by someone without credentials.  We would not want to graduate students who didn’t have skills.  But achievement, in its rightful place, is NOT where we should derive our ultimate sense of identity and self-worth, and we need to have a healthy separation between achievement and worthiness.

If I could really believe this then it gives me great freedom! I can do math SIMPLY because I enjoy it, not because I have to perform.  I don’t have to be “the best”.  I can stop being so hard on myself.  I can have a healthy ambition without competition: striving towards goals, without having to compare myself to other people.  I can be happy for another person’s success.  I can be appropriately open and authentic—I don’t have to fear showing weakness.  Because my worthiness isn’t earned, there’s no need and no room for pretense.  I can stop worrying about what others will think of me, if I believe the lesson of grace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on March 27, 2013 by in Math Education and tagged .
%d bloggers like this: