The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators met in Orlando this week which provides the opportunity for fellow teachers of teachers of mathematics to discuss how to improve the field of mathematics teacher preparation. Sounds like a niche field but the importance of preparing teachers to teach mathematics, a subject which is directly connected to the academic and economic opportunities available to students, has a potential to ripple throughout schools and the country at large. My contribution to the conversation were presentations from two projects that I am engaged in. Both projects have helped me consider what does it look like to lead teachers in loving others though mathematics education. One in helping future teachers consider the world in which they will be teaching and one in positioning ourselves as colleagues with in-service teachers to influence the mathematical system in which we all are a part of.
The first project, which we call the Cost of Course, was inspired by the article Access to Mathematics: “A Possessive Investment in Whiteness” written by Dan Battey from Rutgers University. The data and analysis within the article was striking (please go read it) and we as a project team wanted to figure out how to share it within a mathematical task, designed for preservice teachers, to open up awareness and to instill a sense of agency around issues of equity and diversity in mathematics education for our preservice teachers.
The other project, Access, Agency, and Allies in Mathematical Systems (A3IMS), inspired a presentation around how to position yourself as an ally in a professional development program where the circumstances of the project created a lack of interaction between teachers and the members of the project until day one of the professional development. Not ideal, but what do you do given that reality. We discussed how we adjusted the logistics, how we created opportunities to build relationships in order to build a foundation to have difficult conversations and consider the teaching of a mathematics as a political act.
Below are the citations to the presentations and links to the slides (if available):
Marshall, A.M., Amidon, J., & Nance, R. (February, 2017). Moving Prospective Mathematics Teachers from Instruments of Inequity Towards Agents of Change. Session at annual conference of the Association for Mathematics Teacher Educators. Orlando, FL.
Koestler, C., Amidon, J., Wager, A. A., & Foote, M. Q. (February, 2017). Facilitating a Mathematics Professional Development Collaboration as Allies with Teacher-Colleagues. Session at annual conference of the Association for Mathematics Teacher Educators. Orlando, FL.