Carolyne LobbCarolyne is a Multiply Development Officer, she is employed to work in the local community to raise awareness of numeracy and the Multiply programme and to engage local residents in money saving tips to support the cost of living crisis.

One of the first things that Carolyne said when talking about Multiply was. ‘I am not confident with numbers, I can’t teach maths!’

Spag-bol challenge

Carolyne developed the Spag-bol challenge that she ran in supermarkets to task people with finding cheaper ingredients to make a tasty spaghetti bolognese, this was a really effective activity and Carolyne’s confidence began to improve.

Towards the end of year 1 of the programme Carolyne was tasked with developing some workshops to develop maths skills with local residents in a more structured way, at first Carolyne was reluctant to do this as she ‘is not a maths teacher’.

After some support and encouragement Carolyne wrote a soup and smoothie course embedded numbers through cooking – Carolyne began to realise that she actually is good with numbers when used in a context that is familiar to her.

Throughout year two Carolyne developed other courses including a ‘Food is fuel’ course which looks at your metabolic rate, calorie intake and calories used – quite complex maths skills used. Now into year 3 Carolyne has planned a progression course which will take learners on their first steps to a formal numeracy qualification. Carolyne has worked with the Maths in Education and Industry(MEI) team to build her confidence in delivering a course fully around numbers.

spaghetti bolognese

The impact Multiply has had on Carolyne is huge

The impact on Carolyne and her confidence in numbers is immense, Carolyne doubted herself and would shy away from number work – in staff meetings if we had a number exercise her first comments were about not feeling comfortable and letting the team know that she would come last as she wasn’t good with numbers.

Now Carolyne is going from strength to strength, she will give anything a try and is starting to believe that she is in fact good with numbers and can do more than she has allowed herself credit for.

She is a shining example of what Multiply can support someone to achieve – had we told Carolyne a year ago that she would be teaching a maths class she wouldn’t have believed us. Carolyne is now a trained Numeracy Champion and has almost completed an IAG qualification.

Carolyne, once she has completed her IAG qualification, will be a Numeracy Ambassador for the Multiply team, working with learners to build their confidence in the same ways that she has.

“I am a perfect example of how defeated and negative internal chatter can pull you down and that what you tell yourself often enough – you begin to wrongly believe.

I did not get a maths GCSE at school as I had a horrible maths teacher and I found the topics irrelevant and boring – now with fresh eyes I can devise sessions that are more practical to learners in the real world and so much more meaningful such as garden design, DIY, cooking, diet and nutrition – exciting maths, maths that actually mean something in your day to day life.

If someone had tried to engage with me at school, on that level, I am convinced I would have passed my GCSE maths. Getting learners to learn, depends on how good the teacher is for sure and as a tutor, if I am not engaging and I lose my learners, then that is a reflection on me, the tutor, not on my learners. I wish I could tell my old maths teacher that one! I know that my past experience of fearing maths will make me a great tutor today as I totally understand “the fear”.

My story is real. My fear was real.

Now, ironically, I get a chance to help others who may have a similar story to myself. That will make me a great tutor for sure and allows me an opportunity to set the record straight. You are good enough!”