Math Therapy

10 Episodes

By: The Math Guru

Math Therapy explores the root causes of math trauma, and the empowering ways we can heal from it.  Each week host Vanessa Vakharia, aka The Math Guru, dives into what we get right and wrong about math education, and chats with some of today’s most inspiring and visionary minds working to make math more accessible, diverse, and fun for students of all ages. Whether you think you’re a "math person" or not, you’re about to find out that math people don’t actually exist – but the scars that math class left on many of us, definitely do. And don’t w...

We are born to love math w/ Dan Finkel

Dan Finkel is an author/educator who believes that humans are wired to be curious from birth, and that play is the secret to maintaining that joy of learning throughout childhood.  On today’s season 6 finale, he and Vanessa discuss how teaching kids about math can be so much more fun than we think; it can mean playing board games, counting on their fingers, anything that helps them develop an intuitive sense that there are patterns and structures in the world for them to discover. They also discuss how play-based approaches can even help grown-ups heal from math trauma!


Grit is your superpower w/ Dr. India White

Dr. India White learned grit and resilience the hard way: facing down obstacles throughout her life and deciding she wouldn’t back down.  Now she coaches teachers and students on developing their own gritty superpowers, and she joins Vanessa today for wide-ranging and inspiring conversation. They discuss her journey from a homeless shelter to a college dorm, how equity is about so much more than just race, and the power of lifting each other up as an antidote to fear.

About India
(Website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn)
As a TEDx speaker, I m...

How to change someone's mind w/ Chris Luzniak

What if the secret to winning a debate was actually listening to your opponent? What if you could build confidence and overcome anxiety through the practice of public speaking?  And HOW does someone go from dreams of Broadway fame to teaching debate in math class?!  Find out today as Vanessa chats with math educator/coach Chris Luzniak, host of The DebateMath Podcast!

About Chris (Website, Twitter, Instagram)
Chris Luzniak is an international math consultant and instructional coach. While teaching in New York City public schools he founded the Speech and Debate team, and through th...

Math doesn't cause trauma, people do w/ Sean Nank

When Vanessa saw today’s guest deliver a deeply personal talk at a recent math conference, she was left with more questions than answers; all she knew for certain was she had to get him on the podcast.  Sean Nank is a math educator who believes that the power of our students' stories is the most valuable tool we can harness in our math classrooms, and he illustrates this by sharing his own journey of growing up in an abusive environment, learning to understand and embrace his OCD, and the fateful day that math, for real, saved his own lif...

Turns out some folks hate math w/ Jon Orr & Kyle Pearce

Today’s another one for the teachers, featuring Jon Orr & Kyle Pearce of the Make Math Moments empire - they have a podcast, a framework, workshops & courses & virtual summits galore, and who knows probably even a cooking show at this point?!  They join Vanessa today to discuss the SHOCKING realization early in their career that not all students would be as excited about math as they were … which propelled them to adapt their teaching methods to fuel curiosity in kids so they don’t just get the right answers, but rather develop a true understanding of what they’re learning...

Teachers have trauma too w/ Brittany Hege

We’re often talking about trauma from the student perspective: how it happens in the classroom, and how it follows them into adulthood.  But one group is often overlooked in this discussion - teachers!  Today Vanessa chats with educator Brittany Hege about the challenges teachers often face in keeping up with changing pedagogies, while already being strapped for time and often struggling with math traumas of their own!  This is an honest and heartfelt discussion about how education can evolve without leaving either students or teachers behind, how shame in the classroom can lead to anxiety for both...

More clickbait in the classroom! w/ Howie Hua

Of the truly infinite things Vanessa likes to rant about, few top the list like math’s marketing problem - which is why she was elated to chat with social media mathstar Howie Hua!  Today Howie shares how his own experiences with math anxiety sucked the joy out of math when he was a student, and how he started to bring it back for both himself and his students when he became a teacher.  He’s built a massive following on TikTok and beyond by sharing quick and fun explainer videos and math memes, and his enthusiasm for learning is a t...

The spiritual side of math w/ Francis Su

When you picture a mathematician, what comes to mind?  Now … what about a “mathematical explorer”?  Well, that’s what Francis Su calls himself, and when Vanessa picked up his book Mathematics for Human Flourishing, she couldn’t put it down. On today's episode they explore how mathematical discovery can unleash the wonder and curiosity innate within us all.  They also discuss some deep questions, like why do people have different emotional reactions to math compared to other fields?  How can humans cultivate the virtues we'll need to keep AI in check?  And why is change so hard, both in educational ref...

Tell your students you trust them w/ Zak Champagne

Longtime listeners (like today’s guest, as you’ll discover…) will recall one name popping up in almost every interview last season, so Vanessa needed to find out for herself: who is Zak Champagne & why do people like him so much?! Through today’s rollercoaster episode she discovered a teacher with boundless enthusiasm for the joys of teaching, grounded in a deep respect for his students. 

They unpack what we really mean by terms like “student voice” and “building trust”, offer practical advice on how to actually integrate those ideas into the classroom when teachers are already so strapped for t...

The difference between equity & equality w/ Dr. Pamela Seda

On the Season 6 premiere of Math Therapy, Vanessa chats with Dr. Pamela Seda, an expert in all things education and inspiration!  They dive deep into hot topics like how teachers can build trust in the classroom by modelling vulnerability, the benefits of cultivating community over competition, and a fascinating metaphor that illustrates what equity and accommodations truly mean in our schools.

About Pam (Website, Insta, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)
Dr. Pamela Seda, Founder and CEO of Seda Educational Consulting, is the creator of the VANG Math Card Game and co-author of "C...