Eddie Woo commands rock star attention wherever he goes, but it's not music he's touting, it's maths. Yes, maths.
Eddie, who has built a huge online following for his innovative methods of teaching the subject, was at Southern Cross University, speaking to teachers and students from The Rivers College in his capacity as the NSW Leader of Mathematics Growth - a small State-wide team of maths mentors for the Department of Education.
And the fans were waiting - they held up pictures of "Woobics" cubes, photos to sign, and sketches they'd made - flocking to get selfies with Eddie once the presentation was over.
He said it was "delightful" to see kids so enthusiastic about maths, and to see the message spread that anyone can be good at maths with a change of mindset, as well as some hard work.
Eddie's popularity lies in his ability to inspire people to want to become good at maths, and spreading the word on why maths is so important for everyone, as it touches every part of their lives.
"Kids should love maths, because not only is it powerful and practical, and helps us solve problems, it also helps us to see the world more deeply and appreciate what makes it work," he said.
It's a valuable insight for a cohort hard hit by the pandemic and floods.
"We want something to re-energise and encourage them, to say 'hey we know that you're doing it tough, but we want to tell you it's worth trying to get back on the horse and get back into the rhythm of learning' ... to go back into the classroom and realise that what they are learning is important and valuable," Eddie said.
And it wasn't only the students who were star struck, teachers were equally in awe, with 60 local teachers attending a session with Eddie.
He said teaching was difficult and the complexity had increased, so he aimed to give teachers the tools to help make the most out of their classroom time.
It's not all up to the teachers, Eddie says. A positive attitude towards maths is needed within the community to help students prosper - a change of mindset that you are either good at maths, or not.
"Maths is not just about developing skill, it's a knowledge. It's also about an attitude and a mindset to being positive about it.
"Many of us have a negative experience of maths, it's the last thing we want to do.
"Maths is hard, it requires effort. To really learn maths, you've got to think hard, persevere. Something's got to be there to encourage you to say, when it's tough - 'What makes me keep going. When I get it wrong, why is it worth coming back and trying again?'. It's that attitude."
He says that the philosophy that people are born good at maths was not backed by neuroscience, and studies into neuroplasticity had proven the brain had the ability to change and people can develop their maths skills with work.
"I feel like I am Exhibit A in that. The humanities are where I feel comfortable and was what I was good at at school. But I was given great support, and I didn't give up, and I saw a reason to actually develop an understanding and appreciation of maths. And now people look at me and can hardly believe the humanities were where I started, that's how far I've come.
"So, that's an important message to hold out and admit to them right up that if you're someone who finds maths hard, I'm right there for you, I've got a lot of empathy for that."
His team are just as passionate.
Daniela Elford is part of the Growth team, and will work primarily with students at Richmond River High School for two years, helping to reinforce some of the ideas Eddie exposes.
It is a homecoming of sorts, Daniela went to Richmond River high School and said the opportunity to work with Eddie at her old school was "brilliant'.
The co-ordinator of the Growth team, Craig Holden, summed up the phenomenon that is Eddie Woo.
"I've been a maths teacher for over 30 years. I never would have imagined a maths teacher would have been at the level of a rock star, but he is, and it's fabulous."
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