This Maths Teacher's Lessons Are So Cool, You'd Want To Be His Student

"I don't want to say it, but he sucked me into maths."

Cover image via John Feder via The Australian

Maths is one of those subjects that most people either hate or love.

However, this creative, young teacher in Australia is working towards turning all that hate into love with the power of technology and his passion - teaching and mathematics.

Eddie Woo, the co-head mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School in Sydney has been dubbed as Australia's most famous maths teacher.

Woo's revolutionised teaching techniques were highlighted in an exclusive report by ABC News earlier this week.

"This is my 10th year teaching, and I love my subject," said Woo.

The passionate teacher starts his day very early - 6am to be exact and he's already at school preparing his lessons for the day, setting up his tripod and iPad. Why? He records all his lessons.

It all started sometime in 2012, when Woo decided to record his lessons and post it online to help a student of his who was sick with cancer and had to miss classes for treatments.

Word got out, other students wanted to watch his videos, so he started a channel on YouTube and a website, Wootube, and quickly became a viral sensation for his unique teaching methods.

Now, Woo's YouTube channel has more than 49,000 subscribers and numerous videos with millions of views from across the world.

"I did some rough back-of-the-envelope calculations, as a maths teacher would, and if you add it up, that's about 11 million minutes of people sitting there watching me run around in front of my whiteboard explaining concepts to my classes, which is just mind-boggling!" Woo told ABC News.

So, what makes Woo's teaching methods so special and effective? Watch this:

He's engaging, funny, and even makes pop culture references during his lessons. His Wootube videos of his maths lessons show how he explains and decodes mathematics - making students understand that math is not something to be fearful about.

"Teaching is a performance - you need to be a presence in the classroom."

"I just really like to make sure that I bring energy into my classroom. I think that's the most valuable thing I can have," said Woo.

It's not just the students that are enthralled at the way Woo teaches. Businessman, education reformer, and author David Gonski is a huge fan of Woo and his teaching style.

"There is no doubt that Eddie is conquering any fears of mathematics, making it something that we can all aspire to, and allowing it to be the brain matter, the fodder for the future," said Gonski.

Woo and David Gonski.

Image via Australian Story: Rebecca Baillie via ABC News

"He brings an absolutely infectious enthusiasm for the subject. He has a capacity to simplify mathematics to a level where kids can really understand it," said Cherrybrook Technology High School principal Gary Johnson.

Eddie Woo with his students at Cherrybrook Technology High School.

Image via Eddie Woo via ABC News

One of his students at Cherrybrook, Emily Shakespear, a Year 12 student said that Woo's teaching methods have made maths irresistible.

"I don't want to say it, but he sucked me into maths," said Emily.

What's amazing is that Woo's teaching methods have also reached students in outback Australia and from around the world. The comments in his videos speak for itself.

"If we had more teachers like this the world would be a lot better and educated... Having teacher that actually like to teach make a huge difference," read one of the comments.

"This guy is just brilliant... I was speechless. He made maths so fun and interactive, something almost no teacher does. It's not all boring formulae and stuff, this guy actually involves the class and explains stuff extremely well. Hats off!" read another comment on his video explaining the number "e".

Conor McLeod, a Year 12 student at Cobar High School, is all praises for Woo's maths videos

One of the many students that have greatly benefited from Woo's videos.

Image via ABC NEWS

"I can use it at home. I don't need to travel or pay for it. It just removes those barriers that holds us back sometimes due to isolation," said McLeod in an interview with ABC News.

Cobar is a small town in central-western New South Wales.

While his passion and techniques may seem like teaching Mathematics was something he set out to do from the start, that is not the case. Woo apparently preferred drama, English, and History when he was in school.

He was a brilliant student and graduated from the James Ruse Agricultural High School in the top 2% of the state.

"I was the only person in my grade who went into education. It's quite an uncommon thing... because of our culture and the place of teachers, it's 'why would you do that with all this vast academic potential you have?'

"Two reasons: I had some wonderful teachers who showed me there's an incredible opportunity to have a personal impact on individuals. That's amazing."

"And secondly, through lots of extra-curricular activities - I was a cadet, a leader in the school's Christian group and a prefect and a peer support leader - all those opportunities showed me I loved helping people grow in a very individual, personal way," explained Woo.

Woo told Australia's Sydney Morning Herald that his mother was not pleased with his choice to become a teacher.

Woo's mum had hoped that he would pursue a career in law as he was great with languages and communication.

Sadly, she passed away when Woo was in his first year of university.

"So she never got to see where I am and that I love what I do," said Woo.

Woo also said that his love for teaching and helping students was driven by the racism and bullying he had faced as an Asian immigrant in a suburban Sydney primary school back in the 90s.

"There are definitely parts of my upbringing and the difficulties that I had at school that make me want to take those students who I can see are having difficulty… [and help them] come out of that experience," he said.

According to ABC News, Woo's parents migrated to Australia back in the '70s to seek greener pastures.

Woo's passion has brought him to great heights. Just recently, he won the 2017 University of Sydney Young Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Eddie Woo with his wife, Michelle and three kids.

Image via Tealily Photography via ABC News

A little over a month ago, in March, he was one of the 12 Australian teachers that were honoured at the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards and these two are just the recent ones.

Principle Johnson is very proud of his teacher.

"I'm worried that I might lose him! That bothers me, that he might get poached," he said, as reported by ABC News.

Meanwhile, Woo's wife, Michelle said, "Eddie's just a normal guy just doing something that he loves, and so all this attention is a bit strange really".

As for the young maths teacher, who's also a father-of-three, this is just his way of giving back to the society.

"I was raised in public education, I received a world-class education in principle for free, and so what I'm doing is just paying it forward," he said.

Watch Woo talk about teaching and mathematics:

Closer to home, this teacher in Sarawak is making his students solve "murder cases" during their English lessons:

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