How good your child is at maths has less to do with ability, and more to do with you.

Eddie Woo is arguably Australia’s most famous maths teacher and an international internet sensation.

The 31-year-old set up YouTube channel, “Wootube”, for a student who was sick with cancer four years ago and it took off.

Woo’s enthusiastic maths lessons have had three million views and he has more than 40,000 subscribers.

Eddie Woo says he "loves his job". Image supplied.

The Sydney-based maths teacher, who gets a kick out of daily "a-ha moments" moments with his students, believes parents also have a big role to play in how successful their children will be at maths.

"Many parents think, 'I am bad at it, I was always bad at it - it doesn't matter if you're bad at it as well'," Woo told Mamamia.

"When kids hear that, it is fatal for their desire to persevere through something that is challenging.

"It is hard and it doesn't click straight away."

Just like reading, the teacher says it is fundamental that young people can understand mathematics.

"I'm not talking about doing a maths degree at university. I'm talking about doing Year 11 and 12 general mathematics - which is a fantastic course and will equip you to understand the mathematical, numerical realities of everyday life," he said.

"Lots of kids are not confident enough to do that, because they have picked up that attitude from their parents."

The head of mathematics at Cherrybrook Technology High School doesn't believe understanding maths is an innate ability, despite often hearing the stereotype that Asians are good at maths.

"It's a typical south-Asian and Asian type of attitude to say whatever it is, you should able to work at it and then get skill at it. That applies to a whole bunch of things - it's why so many migrant kids can play piano or violin at say, age two."


Woo says putting in the work to get better at maths is a "cultural thing" that he notices more with Asian and south-Asian families.

Eddie Woo with his wife, Michelle and three children. Image supplied.

"Caucasian families... will be more like, 'we'll just find whatever it is that you're naturally good at and if it's not landing on you, you can just go do something else instead of beating your head against a wall'," he said.

"I feel like that perseverance as a cultural value makes a really big difference."

The 31-year-old says practical maths skills can be developed through time and dedication.

"A lot of what we call mathematical ability just comes from that attitude of work. It's not so much about whether you have got a talent or not - just work at it and you'll get it."

Woo says it is too early to say how successful his own three children will be at maths but it seems they are in safe hands.

Listen: What the teachers really think of your kids. (Post continues after podcast). 

His eight-year-old, Emily, has already tried solving a newspaper sudoku.

"No one hates maths. No one hates numbers and shapes per se - what people hate is feeling stupid. Everyone hates feeling stupid."

"If you play a game and loose every single time of course you're going to stop playing."

The trick is that Woo gets his students into the game and they enjoy playing.

"Not everyone is going to climb Everest. Not everyone has the physical capacity and body that can climb that incredible summit and not everyone is going to be some mathematical professor, but everyone can enjoy climbing as high as they possibly can."

For more on Eddie Woo watch “Channelling Mr Woo”, which premieres on Australian Story, 8pm Monday May 1.