I’m a Mathematics Curriculum Content Trainer in Baton Rouge, LA where I support elementary mathematics coaches and teachers in my school district. As an educator for more than 30 years, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as a classroom teacher, elementary science specialist, and an elementary mathematics coach. Whether I’m teaching students or leading teachers, I truly enjoy my work.
My four younger sisters were my first students and were instrumental in my development as a teacher. Ironically, it was an incident from third grade that was instrumental in my desire to provide my students with fun and engaging experiences in mathematics. My mom substituted a book of math logic puzzles for a chapter book on my Scholastic book order. Initially, I was upset that she had changed the order to reflect her choice instead of mine. However, that book of math logic puzzles became one of my favorite books as a child! It was my first introduction to problem solving activities, because math really wasn’t taught that way when I was a child. Those problem-solving activities taught me that math could be FUN and engaging! Once that spark was ignited I had a desire to engage in similar experiences in classroom activities as well. When I became a teacher, I knew I wanted to recreate that experience for my students.
It wasn’t until my pre-service studies in early childhood education and my early years in the classroom when I was selected to participate in a dynamic mathematics professional learning project for elementary teachers that I learned the importance of providing students with opportunities to: engage in hands-on mathematics activities; make sense of the mathematics they’re learning and engage in problem-solving regularly. These professional learning experiences taught me that students could engage in doing mathematics daily and experience the same excitement and joy I felt as a third grader. In my work with coaches and teachers, I emphasize the importance of providing students with opportunities to be active learners in the mathematics classroom and hopefully, also share my enthusiasm for teaching mathematics.
I was a regular attendee and presenter at NCTM Annual meetings, so I was aware of the supervisors’ organization that met prior to the NCTM conference. (Many of my colleagues and mentors attended the NCSM conference and I would get snippets of information from them.) I was intrigued; however, I was convinced that this organization was only for those in supervisor-type roles. Boy, was I wrong! Luckily, my network of peers continued to provide opportunities for me to engage in rich discussions and learn vicariously from them. My first formal introduction to the greatness that NCSM has to offer was through the Coaching Corner and bank of high-quality tasks resources! As a site-based mathematics coach, these resources became instrumental to my work with the teachers on my campus. Like many mathematics leaders, I was hooked! Over time I learned that NCSM offers a wealth of resources and support for anyone who serves as a mathematics leader.
It wasn’t until 2015 that I was able to secure district funding to attend the full NCSM conference and take advantage of the three-day experience. I’ve grown to appreciate the opportunity to network with and learn from peers during NCSM professional learning opportunities. NCSM has an established reputation as the “go to” organization for leaders in mathematics; however, the implementation of Networking NIghts and other virtual learning opportunities during the pandemic further demonstrated the organization’s commitment to providing opportunities for members to learn with and from each other. I look forward to continuing to learn with and from my mathematics peers and serving the membership in my capacity as a Conference Coordinator.