Retired Principal Gives Clues to Success in Mathematics
A retired principal and mathematician, Alhaja Ayotunde Agunbiade, has identified right attitude by teachers and constant practice as antidotes to failure in Mathematics in schools.
Speaking with Demola Adefajo’s Blog (DAB) at the merit award ceremony of Lagos State Education District I held at Government College Agege, Agunbiade who retired as Principal of Oke Odo Senior High School, Lagos State, said the first step is the approach of the teacher.
‘The major problem is the teacher. If you enter the class with a smiling face, the students will smile back’, she said.
Drawing from her experience as a Mathematics teacher, she said a lot would be achieved by incorporating songs and other methods to teaching the subject.
‘I also tried some tactics while I was teaching Mathematics. I converted most of the formulas to songs. I know that students like music and don’t forget. They easily memorise the music. One day while I was at Keke, I found out that my students did not know the difference between the formulas to find variance of distribution and standard deviation. The thing just came to my mind to compose a song which goes thus:
“Range is the highest minus the lowest,
Variance is SD squared
Standard Deviation is the square root of variance”
‘By the time I sang the song twice, they memorised and they passed the exam very well because it came out I the Lagos State third term examination. I know they will never forget it. I converted so many formulas to songs. My students love me and I love them’, Agunbiade stated.
On the part of the students, she identifies constant daily practice as a compulsory prerequisite
‘Mathematics is such a subject that if you leave it for one day, it would leave you for two weeks’, she said.
She attributed her interest in the subject to one of her secondary school teacher, a youth corps member.
She served as an active member of the Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN) where she rose to the rank of District Coordinator of the Association in Education District I.
Counselling new entrants into the teaching profession, she advised them to be hard working and put in their best.
‘They should be hard working. They should try as much as possible to put their best into the profession not minding that there is reward or not. They should realise there is Someone watching them and keeping records and rewards. That Person will never owe you. He sees the ones you do in secret and the ones you do in public. Let them work conscientiously. Let them have the love of the children. If they do this, the sky is the starting point, not their limit’, she added.
Her journey in the teaching profession started in 1989 when she got employment at Aje Comprehensive High School, Sabo, Yaba from where she was transferred to Lagos City College, Yaba.
The journey took her through Anwar ul Islam Girls College, Ojokoro, Sanngo Senior High School, Agege, Keke Senior High School, Sanmori and Ajase Odualabe in Alimoso and finally Oke Odo Senior High School where she retired as a Principal upon attaining statutory age of 60.
Her time as Principal of Oke Odo Senior High School was marked with many laurels won by the students in quiz, debates and projects.
Despite retiring in November 2021, Agunbiade was recognised alongside 11 serving principals by by the Co-curricular, Science and Technology Department of Education District I at its awards in December.
Presenting her with the pacesetters award, the Tutor General/Permanent Secretary Education District 1, Barrister Margaret Titilayo Solarin, described her as a role model who is always applying her Mathematics knowledge at every event.
She jocularly remarked that she would like to be like Alhaja Agunbiade when she grows up!
Married to Alhaji Kassim Agunbiade, Alhaja Agunbiade is blessed with children who are doing well in their various fields.