What is your math story?
Over the summer I received the book, The Impact of Identity in K-8 Mathematics: Rethinking Equity-Based Practices by Julia Aguirre, Karen Mayfield-Ingram, and Danny Bernard Martin.
It has been a really eye opening read where I am starting to think more deeply about my own math identity and how my past experiences have shaped how I teach math today.
If you stepped into my classroom today, you will see math talk posters, anchor charts, fancy math displays, and an array of math targets and goals for my 3rd grade students. Math is a constant and a welcome necessity in my classroom and I am known by my students and other teachers as a person who loves math. I am even the Vice-president for elementary of an NCTM affiliate here in Michigan and love talking math on Twitter each week.
My actions and thoughts today, however, are almost the complete opposite of how I felt about and approached math in middle school and high school. I always knew it was a necessity, but I just didn't get it. I didn't understand the "why". I did have all sorts of questions floating in my mind during a math lecture:
No one had ever told me that it was okay to ask these types of questions in math and since I was the type of student that did exactly as she was told, I never asked my questions. I always got decent grades in math, but because I never developed any true conceptual understanding I still always felt as if I was struggling.
My love for the subject began when I had to start teaching it to others. I felt the urgency to develop my understanding and really dig deeply into the concepts so that I would be able to help my students. When I started answering the questions I had been asking in my mind for years, math became a subject of beauty to me. The connections, patterns, specific vocabulary, and amazing reality of math in nature is fascinating to me. Understanding math at a deeper level has changed how I view my world.
I work so tirelessly with the subject and continue to read about it and go back to school to increase my knowledge to understand multiple ways to help my students make math connections with their worlds. I want students to understand that math is about problem solving and question asking and pattern noticing- I also want them to embrace these aspects in order to truly become empowered.
I would not have written about my math identity without this book nor would I have started to think about math equity in the classroom. I loved this process so much that I would like to share it with others. I thought one easy way to get this started would be to start a Twitter chat!
Join me for the new #mathequity chat starting January 24, 2016 @8pm EDT. You do not need to have the book read in order to participate! Everyone has experience to share and I look forward to hearing your perspectives.
What is your math story?