We are honoured to introduce Peter Cherry as our first Dyscalculia Network Ambassador.
Peter has a PhD in Comparative Literature and has had a successful career as a researcher and teacher at universities in the UK and Turkey. However, the precarious job market caused him to rethink his options. He returned to the UK to pursue a career in adult education and applied to a number of PGCEs.
Unfortunately, he soon found that his dyscalculia held him back. Peter was diagnosed with dyscalculia when he was a child and didn’t manage to pass his GCSE Maths exam. He suffers from maths anxiety and his feelings about maths are intimately tied up with his mental health.
The experience of applying for PGCEs brought back a number of difficult issues that Peter faced in his teenage years.
In Part 2 of the interview, Peter talks about his career in academia and how his recent decision to change his career, including the ‘need’ for a GCSE in maths, has affected his mental health.
He also talks about his journey to acceptance of himself as a person who has a maths learning difficulty and how he is working to overcome his fears as he embarks on a GCSE maths course with the support of a dyscalculia specialist teacher.
Peter reflects on how the experience has positively impacted his career and life goals. Specifically, how his plans to retrain as a teacher of GCSE English to adults is driven by wanting to make a positive difference for others who have had similar experiences of revisiting traumatic or difficult experiences in education.
We finish by discussing the relative lack of attention or knowledge about dyscalculia despite the very real every day effects it can have on people’s lives, such as career opportunities. We talk about how dyscalculia can be a barrier to succeeding in an unfair system that simply doesn’t acknowledge dyscalculia.