beginning my masters in teaching

  • Things I am thinking about
    • Healing math trauma
    • Habits of mind
    • Math anxiety
    • Creativity and joy in math
    • Community
    • Curiosity
    • Access
    • Honors/standard/fundamentals (the levels of math offered at my school… we are trying to reimagine this)
    • Portfolios
      • Assessment
    • Communication
    • Identity
      • Disability
      • Gender
    • Art
      • Geometry of clothing/fashion
      • crocheting/knitting
      • Clay
      • 3D printing
    • Technology 
    • Journaling/Reflections
    • Productive struggle
    • Math literacy
    • Games 
  • Questions
    • Why do we teach proof in geometry to ensure all students have access to and understanding of proof?
    • How can we foster an environment of collaboration and curiosity in mathematics?
    • How can we use proofs to teach students literacy skills in mathematics?
    • How can we use proofs to help teach students how to productively struggle?
    • What does a healthy mathematics community look like and how can we use community to heal math trauma and foster resilience in problem solving?
    • How do we decenter white male mathematicians in teaching geometry?
    • How can we use portfolios in mathematics to assess student growth and help students to see their own growth? 
    • How can we disrupt students’ internal narratives of fixed mathematics ability?
    • How can geometry be used to help students rediscover the power of play and creativity in problem solving?
    • How can teaching proofs be used to improve mathematical communication between students?
    • How can we use technology tools in teaching geometry and proof?
    • How can we incorporate art in teaching geometry? (Needs to be more focused) 
    • How can we use journals in mathematics to help students understand themselves as mathematicians, and their mathematical process?
    • How can mathematics be used to help students explore and understand identity and their place in the world?
    • How can we use games to foster creativity and collaboration in mathematics?
    • How can we reimagine the divide of students between varying levels of math courses?
  • Possible project ideas
    • Workbook of selected proofs/puzzles that build on each other
    • Outline/Example of a portfolio based assessment system
    • Website/blog: Community Mathematics —> daily/weekly puzzles
      • Series of collaborative puzzles?
    • Unit/Lesson Plans
    • Something else??????
    • Design a project for students to do

Chosen Research Question (As it stands right now): What does a healthy mathematics community look like and how can we use community to heal math trauma and foster resilience and curiosity?

awards season

I gave each of my students an individual award for the end of the year. Below are the awards (slightly edited for anonymity).

  1. Product of Zero Award: Most Persuasive
  2. Absolute Value Award: staying positive when things are hard, bringing joy and humor to our class
  3. Math Center Award: best use of resources and asking questions
  4. D20 award: Best world builder
  5. Denise chickulant award (named after the succulent in our class): positivity and adaptability
  6. Proof Award: Excellence in class participation and mathematical explainations
  7. Exponential award: Mathematical growth
  8. x^2+y^2 = 1 award: well rounded, and rolls with the punches
  9. Craftsperson Award: creativity and skill in many mediums
  10. Secret Mathematician: Most likely to ask if we can not do math in math class
  11. Tony Award: accomplishment in the dramatic and mathematic arts
  12. Fractal Award: A mathematician who is meticulous, organized, and precise
  13. Sunflower award: Most growth, and for being ray of sunshine
  14. Chameleon award: makes the best of any situation
  15. Technicion Award: Most likely to build a computer from scratch, and excellence in tinkering and finding the joy in a puzzle
  16. Calculator award: Most likely to have done all the math in their head before half the class heard the question
  17. Distributive property award: Best person to spill tea with
  18. Best New Artist: Painting
  19. Divide by 0 award: Best person to be stranded on a desert island/get you out of a bind
  20. Apothem Award: for keeping us grounded, clever solutions, and also making us laugh
  21. Cosine Award: For someone who is adaptable, practical, and perseveres through challenges
  22. Prime number Award: For someone who demonstrates individuality, curiosity, and strength.
  23. Probability Award: Most competitive at games of chance, as well as someone who always pushes themselves to improve
  24. X^x: For excellence in volleyball, leadership, algebra skills, and positivity
  25. Proof By Induction Award: For witty comments, persuasiveness, great communication, and clever mathematical solutions
  26. Java Award: Most likely to be a vigilante hacker
  27. Exponential Award: Most likely to make forbes 30 under 30
  28. Rising Star Award: Given to a freshman who shows wisdom, discpline, and skill beyond their years
  29. Parabola award: For excellence in 3 point shots, and for willingness to lean into difficulty and grapple with complex ideas and problems
  30. GCF Award: For excellence in collaboration and making connections between concepts
  31. Tangent Award: Most likely to steer the conversation in an extremely interesting (if unrelated) direction
  32. 2022 Award: For someone who embodies the best part of this year together: fruits nacks, flexibility, fun, friendship, and a finding where you fit in this community.
  33. Unmasked award: For authenticity, compassion, risk taking, and kindness.
  34. Wordsmith: For excellence in fast typing and word puzzle solving, and general cleverness and collaborative skill
  35. Canada Award: For excellence in leadership, athleticism, fidgeting, style, and perseverance
  36. For excellence in collaborative problem solving, creative thinking, reading prowess, and openmindedness.
  37. CPS (clicks per second) Award: For fastest gaming, googling, and wordle completing.
  38. Blooket Award: For speed, accuracy, and good sportsmanship.
  39. Desmos Award: Excellence in graphing, visualization, and precision
  40. Linear Function Award: Someone who keeps us on track, and is consistent in their effort and enthusiasm
  41. Rational Function Award: For someone who excels in logic, organization, and finding unusual methods of solving problems.
  42. The Phantom Tollbooth Award: For embodying the spirit of Milo (the main character in The Phantom Tollbooth). This award is given to someone with extraordinary creativity, cleverness, and growth throughout the year.
  43. (Breaking the) Glass Ceiling Award: for someone who defies expectations, holds themselves to high expectations, and advocates for their needs
  44. Quadratic Award: For excellence in box factoring and mathematical explanations.
  45. 18th Hole Award: For golf skill, kindness, compassion, and perseverance.
  46. Piecewise function: For someone with many changes and bumps along the way through this year, but who managed to find a path through with positivity and humor.
  47. The Lightbulb Award: For someone who asks great questions, and uses their understanding to help others understand. This award goes to someone who helps others see the joy in mathematics and problem solving.
  48. High School Musical Award: For positivity, openness to trying new things, kindness, and commitment to the bit
  49. Glee Award: for excellence in collaboration, community building, and communication

Awards named for colleagues

  1. For someone who has worked hard to make connections in the community, and goes out of their way to make sure everyone feels welcome. You are someone listens without judgment, and who is always trying to understand the perspectives of others.
  2. For a leader and in the community with big visions, high expectations, and good humor.
  3. For being unafraid to stand up for the right thing
  4. For Kindness and compassionate leadership
  5. For a lover of calculus
  6. For perseverance, good humor, curiosity, and tenacity
  7. For someone who is kind, consistent and clever
  8. For creativity and Enthusiasm
  9. For someone who is prepared, organized, thoughtful
  10. for curiosity, collaboration, singing, and style

wrapping up year 1 of teaching

  • things that have been on my mind lately
    • i want to crochet something for students in some way but it either needs to be a very small (like 5 minutes each) type thing, or i don’t give one to everyone. perhaps only my advisees.
    • how to send off the seniors? I don’t teach any, but i know a handful from clubs and the play and such, and i would like to celebrate them
    • this department is really shifting. there is so much possibility here.
    • how are there so few weeks left. one month from now i will be done with my first full year. beginning to end with the same students.
    • grades are meant to be simple, transparent communications but also convey so much information and i dont know how to do that accurately/meaningfully (yet?)
    • there are so many things i wish i could do to wrap things up and reflect and preplan for next year because im already excited to try this dice project again. its going pretty well but there are a lot of things i would do differently the second time around and i am excited to try again!
    • a middle school art teacher in florida was fired for allowing discussion of sexuality and identity in class. i am tired. i am sad. i am anxious.
      • every week it feels like my humanity is questioned anew.

i feel quite small today

Today, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to make it illegal for doctors to proscribe gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth (18 and under).

I am grateful for what a few representatives said in the battle that ended in a vote of 66-28 in favor of this bill.

Rep. England: “You’re saying this is about children. It’s not. What it is about is scoring political points and using those children as collateral damage”

Rep. Rafferty: “Its totally undermining family rights, health rights and access to health care.”

I was pretty numb while I read this headline at first. A protective numbness.

I was numb until I reached this quote in the article from Rep. Wes Allen: “Their brains are not developed to make the decisions long term about what these medications and surgeries do to their body,”

When I read that, I was angry. I was frustrated by the utter stupidity of it all. I wanted to storm down to that house and explain to this man that going through puberty ~naturally~ or whatever Is A Choice, and a choice with lasting, lifelong repercussions. I want to ask why he thinks the state should be able to make this choice for children: A choice that he states will have lasting effects on their bodies.

I have been fighting my body for years, and if I had been given the option at the beginning to not have to go through that, hell yes I would have picked that.

I’m not a better person for having had two puberties. I’m just sadder.

All I want is to be able to protect those kids in Alabama. I want to protect my trans students from the ricocheting pain I am feeling after this bill. And after all the rest.

I feel quite small today.

https://www.npr.org/2022/04/07/1091510026/alabama-gender-affirming-care-trans-transgender

Focuses of the week

  1. School/Work
    1. Finalize plan for 3D print project guidelines
      1. begin trial run of it
    2. Area Unit arc + collect puzzles
    3. Brainstorm probability idea
  2. Crochet
    1. Get to yellow section of the sweater I am pattern testing
    2. finish back of sweater
  3. Self Care
    1. journal 1 sentence every day
    2. designate time to care for friendships/relationships
  4. Chores
    1. Plan yard cleanup
    1. New dog training schedule
    2. make appointments
    3. clean carpets
  5. Walking Practice: walking training season* is in full swing, and my dogs and I are working on gaining some confidence in stressful/overly exciting situations (ie. there are any bikes, other dogs, amazon delivery trucks, cars that are too loud or are going too fast, roller skates, squirrels, strollers, all the smells, etc.)
    1. Remember to STRETCH
    2. Try running a bit
    3. Coordinate 5k team for https://www.laughingatmynightmare.com/

Looking forward to:

  • Play games/do puzzles
  • cook yummy food
  • romp around outside with the dogs
  • snuggle
  • watch good tv/listen to good podcasts
  • friends who make me laugh
  • being back with students who make me laugh
  • feeling rested (pls)
  • roller blade season can start soon hopefully
  • doctors appointments to help my joints not hurt

motivation when I’m tired

(Alternatively titled: A teaching philospohy)

In trying to understand who I am as a teacher
I found a misconception I had been holding on to:
I thought the pull to teaching was math.

(And I do love math
I am grateful to have it as a partner in this endeavor
I love its definitiveness and ambiguity

Give me good pattern any day of the week and I’ll be happy
Or an algorithm
a visualization
a comparison
a mapping
a graph
a prediction
a puzzle

Math is a language where you can express
both more
and less
than you can with words.

Math carries a precision that syllables and sentences never can
Yet fails to articulate the finest points of humanness)

But to say I am tied to teaching because I love math
is a knot that will unravel under tension.
I would not have ended up here if I had not accompanied a bouquet of trans folks
On legs of their expeditions:
Through crushing expectations
Through meeting themselves
Through glimmers of expansive freedom
Through letting the world in to meet them.

I teach in order to hold a place for these gender explorers and defiers
For these norm breakers
For these students looking for someone to see them, to know them.


I stumbled into teaching with my crochet hook and calculator
with enormous and hazy and overwhelming dreams
To chip away at these walls against which my back is pressed
To exist where they said we couldn’t
To make space
for us.



Black trifold board poster with a rainbow geometric stripe from the bottom left to top right. Title in silver: lgbteacher: being out in the classroom as an act of radical honesty. 
Bottom right is a timeline with pictures. Middle contains titles with flap doors that reveal to more
final project for my first grad school class in teaching in 2019

long and short term goals and dreams

But who’s to say which is which

  • Create a math elective
  • Decorate/organize classrooms and office
  • write a play
  • create knit/crochet clothing
  • create a gender retreat or pen pal network or mentoring network or something related to giving the trans youths a place to explore gender
  • write pretty math puzzles
  • make cool escape room puzzles
  • crochet cool things
  • knit cool things/learn to knit
  • Research the crossover of fiber art and math
  • journal/post updates more consistantly
  • write poetry
  • Create art with trash
  • Learn more about 3d printing
  • Write a letter to students thanking them for being my first group I’ve thought for a full year
  • Do a workshop on gender/trans competency for faculty
  • Learn to roller skate more
  • Find a way to get back into dance

right now in Texas

powerful people 
Think that it is abuse
To let me feel free

They want our existence to be reported
Our support systems ripped out from under us

They want us gone
Because we make them question every lie they ever told themselves about how they were allowed to exist through the world

We make them confront the terrifying expanse that the universe becomes when you realize it is your right to define yourself boundlessly,
to be fully human,
fully unique and yet the same,
fully perfect
and yet never not fully a work in progress





There are people
Who Think that it is abuse
To help me feel free

But who refuse to see the enormously obvious, heart shatteringly painful reality that is
That their words rip open barely healed wounds
There will be unthinkable, unforgivable pain because of this
There will be lives broken and lost.


I want to hold a message of hope.
Of ‘we will prevail’.

But it’s hard to stay positive and be a trans person in a world where your right to exist continues to be questioned in new old ways.
I’m tired.
I’m in pain.



——-
Required afterthought:
But we will care for eachother
And we will care for ourselves
And we will be free

assorted thoughts from my notes app (pt. 4)

  1. quote from C: “I like having options even though I hate making decisions”
  2. reading recommendations from a friend: Heartstopper, The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
  3. pretty sure this is a journaling note when I was panicking and trying to calm myself by writing down all the thoughts: “We are all just human. We are all big and little. We are universes contained within universes. Of course this is hard.”
  4. shopping list for yarn
  5. “How much corn” (thats the whole note)
  6. ideas for a review day: “Crocheting Olympics”
  7. quotes from C playing video games:
    1. “That was not very nice”
    2. “aaaauh”
  8. “I won’t let other people use gender against me”