As I finish my credential work, I am excited to announce that I have accepted a position at my student teaching site, Lawrence Cook Middle School, as 8th grade mathematics instructor.
I didn’t set out to become a teacher. After graduating with a degree in Computer and Information Sciences at UCSC, I became a consulting computer programmer, doing a majority of my work from home. When my wife and I had children, I became a “stay at home dad”. Ultimately we decided on independent study for our daughters’ elementary and middle school education and I became their primary teacher as well. Now, as my children prepare to attend college, I am transforming my vocation of the past decade into my profession.
Too many people believe that they are “just not good at math” as if mathematical ability is a fixed characteristic like eye color. Stanford’s Carol Dweck has shown in her research that possessing a growth theory of intelligence “based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness,” can help individuals overcome the shortcomings of this fixed theory of intelligence and achieve success in many aspects of life, especially in the mathematics classroom. As a middle school teacher at the critical nexus between arithmetic and algebra, I want to provide students with the tools to believe they can be “good at math.”
Discourse-driven, group-worthy, team-based projects are the perfect lab for developing this growth mindset and the positive mathematical dispositions embodied in the CCSS math practice standards.
I am delighted to build on the relationships I have made this year at Cook by continuing to provide an enthusiastic, energetic approach to math, and a stable, caring approach to students as I prepare for next year’s 8th grade class.