Season 5, Episode 4

Coaching tips for managing math anxiety in teachers

So far this season, we’ve investigated math anxiety in students and its causes with passionate researchers and curriculum experts, including one from Sesame Workshop! Now we hear from Dr. Heidi Sabnani, consultant, coach, and co-host of Math 4 All, as she gives us research-based tips for teachers who are facing math anxiety themselves! Listen as we discuss Heidi’s own math anxiety and journey through math, the effects teacher math anxiety can have on instruction, and practices educators can implement right away for overcoming math anxiety.

Listen today and don’t forget to grab your MTL study guide to track your learning and make the most of this episode!

Meet our guest(s):

Heidi Sabnani

Heidi Sabnani is always surprised that she works in math education. She developed math anxiety as a young student and spent much of her school life and early career avoiding math. After teaching English in the United States and Guatemala, and earning her MA in World Literature, she found herself in the uncomfortable position of working in math classrooms as a school improvement consultant. Once she realized that her life was going to involve math, Heidi decided to relearn math in the ways she wished she had learned the first time around. 18 years later she is still learning with and from the students and teachers she has the privilege to serve.

Heidi’s doctoral research at Northeastern University focused on interventions for math anxiety in elementary teachers. She currently works as a consultant, speaker, and author.

Meet our hosts: Bethany Lockhart Johnson and Dan Meyer

Bethany Lockhart Johnson is an elementary school educator and author. Prior to serving as a multiple-subject teacher, she taught theater and dance, and now loves incorporating movement and creative play into her classroom. Bethany is committed to helping students find joy in discovering their identities as mathematicians. In addition to her role as a full-time classroom teacher, Bethany is a Student Achievement Partners California Core Advocate and is active in national and local mathematics organizations. Bethany is a member of the Illustrative Mathematics Elementary Curriculum Steering Committee and serves as a consultant, creating materials to support families during distance learning.

Dan Meyer taught high school math to students who didn’t like high school math. He has advocated for better math instruction on CNN, Good Morning America, Everyday With Rachel Ray, and He earned his doctorate from Stanford University in math education and is currently the Dean of Research at Desmos, where he explores the future of math, technology, and learning. Dan has worked with teachers internationally and in all 50 United States and was named one of Tech & Learning’s 30 Leaders of the Future.


Much like the people in my research, many of us can tie the beginnings or the ‘evil villain origin story’ of our own math anxiety to an event or series of events. —Heidi Sabnani