The speaker at one of my favorite sessions at our fall conference in December posed the question, “What’s your story?” to participants. She encouraged us to think about the paths we have followed and how our own stories had been written through the years. Some of the teachers in the group were just writing the first pages of the math education stories while others had nearly completed a novel! As we started sharing our stories, we quickly realized some similarities in all of our stories. To a person, each who shared mentioned mentors and supporters who had given a much needed “push” at just the right time – someone who said “YES, you can do this and YES, you need to do this.”
To close the session, the speaker shared this quote, “Don’t look back – that’s not where you are going.” In other words, keep writing your own story and keep supporting others as they write their own. This caused me to think about some of the ways we, as MCTM members, could write the next chapter in our own stories and also impact the stories of others. Here are a few of the ideas that came to mind, there are certainly many others!
· Reach out to a new teacher or a pre-service teacher: I love the superhero pictures from our fall conference! Each of us can be a superhero to one of our new or prospective teachers. It’s pretty exciting to be part of the first chapter of someone’s story.
· Implement a math outreach activity in your district: Host a family math night, send home math newsletters, establish or attend a math contest with your students, etc.
· Lead in the implementation of the new Missouri Learning Standards: We’re not sure what these will look like in finished form but the adoption of new standards will provide many opportunities for MCTM members. Study the standards, ask questions, and be open to new ideas and strategies. It’s tempting to take a ‘This, too, shall pass’ approach but our children deserve more from us.
· Submit a proposal to speak at the 2016 MCTM conference: Sometimes we think that everyone knows what we know and does what we do, and that we have nothing to offer others. Not true! Share what you do in your classroom and you’ll add to your own story while adding to the story of those who attend.
· Volunteer to help at the NCTM regional conference being held in St. Louis in November: (Did you know Missouri will be host to a regional conference in Kansas City in 2018 and the annual NCTM national conference in 2020?) Our own Ruth Knop is the volunteer committee chairperson and she will be looking for volunteers to help her!
The next chapter of my own story will be exciting. I’m honored to be the new president of MCTM and I look forward to working with all of you for the next two years. Please share your ideas about making our organization better. I want MCTM to continue to be the voice for math teachers in Missouri and for us to be an organization that contributes to the math education stories being written by teachers.
I hope that 2016 is a wonderful for you. Enjoy writing this chapter in your story!
Would your students benefit from new materials in your classroom?
Consider applying for a FAME Grant!
You could receive up to $1250 to improve your classroom instruction, and all applications are due by March 15, 2016.
Make MCTM your MO Math Connection!!!
MCTM allows you to .....
Make math more meaningful for students
Make the strategies and activities you use more effective and engaging
Make connections with other math educators across the state
Make sure you’re up-to-date with what's going on in math education
Make an impact beyond your own classroom