New Math Tutor Offers Help to Math- Challenged Students

Photo Karen Graham.
Wayne Baker hopes to help local students master math concepts.

There’s no doubt math is a challenging subject for many students.  The school board knows it, too.  In 2017, the Kawartha Pine Ridge School District launched a revised math strategy, prompted by falling math scores in provincial tests despite a focus on instruction in this subject.  Then Director of Education Jennifer Leclerc acknowledged that math was one of the most difficult areas of instruction for KPRSD staff and students, with complex and multi-layered concepts.

A new resident is offering to help local students sort through their math conundrums.  Wayne Baker knows math, and better yet, he can explain it so you can, too.  It’s been ten years since he retired as a high school math, chemistry and physics teacher in Bolton, and he also spent ten years teaching in Australia.

He and his wife just moved to the area this summer, leaving the traffic, frenzied pace and the never-ending stream of enthusiastic OPP trainees eager to demonstrate their initiative behind in Bolton.  With a cottage in Coboconk, moving east of the GTA made sense.  So far, so good.

With school back in session, Wayne is ready to help local students address their math quandaries, big and small.  Students with no interest in learning who are sent to him by their parents are quickly returned to them.  Wayne knows that if a student isn’t interested in learning, tutoring is a waste of everyone’s time and someone’s money, too.

With that philosophy, tutoring sessions are geared to the specific needs of the students.  Some have weekly appointments where they work through math assignments and review test results on a regular basis, while others come only when they have specific math challenges they need help to work through.

Some students arrive with a mental block about math, but this obstacle can usually be overcome.  For most students, the problem is resolved by taking a step back in the math process, or maybe several steps, to get to the root of the issue.

Mr. Baker attributes the extensive challenges students face in this topic to a shortage of teachers who are committed to the subject area.  In his experience, he has noticed that those gifted in math often chose more lucrative careers precisely because they can do the math.  Jobs in computer science, all forms of engineering, finance and actuarial science tend to offer higher pay.  Many teachers delivering high school math courses have very little math in their own training and are teaching physical education or geography as their main subject.  His observation is backed by statistics.  A 2016 Ontario study determined that 83 per cent of grade three teachers and 80 per cent of grade six teachers have no postsecondary background in mathematics, concluding that part of the problem was that Ontario teachers were inadequately trained to deliver effective mathematics teaching.

Whether your student needs an hour to prep for a test or an hour a week to master math concepts, there is now a local, seasoned math teacher available to help.  For more information, call 1-905-715-4354 or email KG

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