***This Presidential Message was submitted before the tragic school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. As mathematics teacher educators (MTEs), we need to prepare our students for aspects of teaching that may extend beyond the content and that we may also feel ill-equipped to address. Creating spaces for our students and sharing resources is an important step. Some resources I shared with my MTEs that you may find useful include:
- How to talk to children when the news is scary
- Talking to children about violence
- Resources for mental health
- How to talk to children about school shootings
As we try to support students, please make sure to also take care of yourself.
Listening and learning,
Learning from Elementary Math Routines
Summer is often a time to rejuvenate, enjoy family, travel, write, teach, or focus on other tasks often put aside during the busy semesters of fall and spring. One of my goals has included revising the syllabus for a summer elementary undergraduate mathematics methods course. In this course we explore and plan Notice and Wonder, Which One Doesn’t Belong, Same and Different, Estimation180, and Always, Sometimes, Never as we examine the purposes and benefits of these routines. In a webinar, Robert Berry noted that these routines give structure, time, and interactions with community and mathematics.
As I considered the big ideas behind these routines, I thought about how these ideas extend beyond the activity, my class, or even preservice mathematics teacher preparation. These big ideas also connect to the work of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) to provide mathematics teacher educators with spaces for structure, time,and interactions with community and mathematics. Some structures that are intended to provide time and interactions include: our annual conference, webinars, Community Circles, committee work, publications, podcasts, the website, affiliates. Just as with many of these routines, the focus of our work should be on thinking, not speed and should involve discussions with time to actively listen and learn from others. As a community we need to be willing to learn from each other and situations, revise our thinking, and continue growing. This involves flexibility, critical thinking, listening, and confidence to take risks.
In April, the AMTE Board collectively created a press release on equitable and inclusive mathematics teaching and learning. This statement reinforces that mathematics is a human endeavor and that relationships matter. Many elementary math routines connect to the lives of the students and focus on the unique thinking that each student brings to the classroom. As I prepare for my class, I reflect on celebrating the uniqueness of the future teachers I teach. I also hope AMTE is helping each of us to celebrate and learn from the uniqueness of each member. There are many ways to connect and get involved to continue building on this work. Using the Always, Sometimes, Never routine ask yourself: Have you completed a volunteer form to get involved? If you have already served on a committee, have you considered applying to serve as the vice president of membership or professional learning or to run for a board position? Can you share your work through one of our journals or volume 6 of our professional book series? If you replied sometimes or never, it is never too late to get involved with AMTE. Simply click on a link and think of the impact you can have on the organization and the community of learners who often seek information through AMTE.
Whether this summer is a time to rejuvenate, enjoy family, travel, write, teach, or support mathematics teachers, may you also consider ways to contribute to mathematics teacher education via AMTE. It is a pivotal time in mathematics education and teacher education. We need to work as a collective group to advocate and support teachers and learners. We need your voice, your expertise, and your perspective to continue to strive towards our mission to promote the improvement of mathematics teacher education, PK-12. Enjoy your summer!
Listening and learning,