Mission #1 from Exploring the MTBoS

Who are you? Introduce yourself to the MathTwitterBlogosphere! How’d you get into teaching? What do you like most about your job?

My name is Diana and I am a middle school math teacher from New Mexico. This is my 27th year of teaching, but I haven’t taught my first year 27 times. Even though I have been teaching a long time, I am still learning how to be a teacher.

As a freshman in college, my first “computer class” was Fortran. I remember creating the stack of punch cards that was my assignment, carrying them carefully to the computer building – yes the whole building was one computer! One time I dropped the cards and after hours of trying to sort them and many tears, I finally just started over. For my 50th birthday (only a few days away) I got a Macbook Air. This amazing piece of tech on my lap is way more powerful than that computer that occupied a whole building. In fact, so is my phone 🙂

I became a math teacher because as a student, math was the only thing that did NOT come easy to me. Math was always a challenging and I struggled to understand. I drove my teachers crazy asking, “Why?” all the time. I am a strong spatial reasoner, but numbers were definitely not second nature.

What I like most about my job is helping kids know more math today than they knew yesterday! When I started teaching math – way back when – a good math teacher was a good “explain-er.” I worked hard figuring out multiple ways to explain MY thinking. I encouraged my students to ask “Why?” and relished taking time to explain. Now, my job is so much more. I still have to be at explanations. I also teach my students to explain their own reasoning. I teach them to create logical arguments to support their reasoning and to respectfully critique the reasoning of others. I also have to help my students become wise consumers of the explosion of data that bombards them every day.

Well, that is plenty for my very first blog post ever! I was worried I couldn’t write a whole paragraph, and now I have a whole page 🙂

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lizziemadHi Diana! Looks like you just started your blog. I loved your post. I have been teaching since 1980, with a few breaks here and there. I remember those ancient computers, too. It is mind-boggling just how far we have come. In high school, we used slide rules! I am still in the transition phase from “explainer” to letting my students do the explaining. I am finding it difficult, but know it is the best way for them to really learn to think for themselves. The MTBoS is exciting, but I haven’t found the time to truly explore. All of these young vibrant teachers are really inspiring. Happy to find someone in my age group who is also an inspiration! One year ago, my age was the same as the year I was born!

dianafesmirePost authorHi Lizzie! Thanks so much for the reply. Yep, this is my very first blog post! Thanks for the little math challenge at the end of your reply. I started by thinking about how old I am and the year I was born. So I am 50 and I was born in 63. So I need to get the numbers closer together. So then I thought what about if you were born in 55. You would have been 55 in 2010 so I was really close. So a quick adjustment and I got you were born in 56 and last year you were 56. Thanks for a little math challenge. I also appreciate finding a friend in MTBoS who is also “well seasoned,” although I learn so much from the younger teachers too.