Showing posts from August, 2017

What Attracts New Teachers to Schools?

I started thinking about this question when I found out that one my former professors is researching this exact question. New teachers are not exactly flocking to urban public schools, so rather than asking why new teachers are avoiding urban public schools, Manya Whitaker of Colorado College is flipping the question and instead asking what factors are important to new teachers when choosing a school. Her research will be far more telling than my anecdote, but for now all I can provide are the reasons I chose my current school and why I could see myself staying there for a long time.

1. The hiring process was rigorous

This might sound counter-intuitive, but it was one of the first things I noticed. There is definitely a sweet spot here, because making applicants jump through too many hoops could turn them away. However, in this case, every part of the hiring process felt necessary. This is tough, because some schools may be struggling to get enough applicants, in which case it is harder…

Why Loving Each Other and Color Blindness Are Not the Answer

It's the classic response when racial tension arises. "My mom taught me to treat everyone the same, that race does not matter because we are all part of the human race." Except that it does matter. and if you are white, you are probably part of the problem. Yes, you, who voted for Obama, who has "tons of black friends," who listens to Kendrick Lamar, who may have even attended a "Black Lives Matter" rally or two. You are part of the problem and you benefit from the racial inequality in our country.

I know I am part of the problem because if I see a black man walking down the street at night, a slight physiological response occurs. My heart might start beating a little faster. I'm not proud of it, but sometimes I feel fear. I have never been attacked by a black person. I have never even personally witnessed a violent black person. The fear has no rational grounding. Yet the implicit bias is present, and the reaction happens. And because it happens,…

I Created These Posters to Show My Students that White Males Are Not the Only Mathematicians

If something you want to use in your classroom doesn't exist, just make it yourself. That is what many innovative math teachers are doing: coding programs that will make their lives easier and their students' learning experience better, creating video word problems, and more. When I was thinking about the message I wanted to send in my classroom, I noticed that I had inherited a lot of Einstein and Newton posters. Einstein and Newton obviously deserve to be on posters everywhere. However, when only white males are displayed in STEM classrooms, students of color and non-male students receive the message that the best mathematicians in the world do not look like them. How will they be encouraged to take on that identity without role models to relate to? For that reason, I made these posters to display in my room. Everything from the language you use to how you present your classroom can influence your students. Thus, being intentional and thoughtful in these areas can make a hu…

Are We Willing to Question the Content We Teach?

It is pretty hard to be a convincing and effective teacher without believing in the content. But most teachers can probably relate to that feeling of "I have way too much to teach and not enough time to teach it." Not only do I get that feeling, but I also find myself wondering why we try to teach so much content. As a math teacher, I hope that my students will gain the ability to think critically and analyze problems. Everything I teach goes back to that goal. Let me give you and example of content I find extremely beneficial and engaging as well as an example of content that I believe does not help students gain the skills we hope they will gain when learning math.

An offshore oil well is situated in the ocean 7,000 feet from the nearest point (point A) on a straight coastline. An oil refinery is located 10,000 feet down the coast from point A. Laying pipe under water costs $16/foot and laying pipe on land costs $7/foot. The engineers want to find the path that will minimiz…