I had a really lovely conversation with Tiffany about mathematics education as a whole. What we are teaching, why we are teaching it, and Rochelle Gutierrez. It made me think, as talking with Tiffany always does.
Here’s where I’m at: I love math. I love teaching kids math but mathematics education is not my passion. I don’t have a deep drive to examine math. I don’t have a grand desire to delve into why we teach the math we do in the way we do. Do I think it’s important? Heck yes. Is it my life’s work? Nope.
I think, and I reserve the right to change my mind, that my life’s work is kids. Possibly at an individual level, certainly on a relational level. Don’t get me wrong I am in no way implying that thinking about math education on a large scale is not beneficial to kids or hugely important. I am so glad there are people who want to do that work. I am even more glad that there are people like Bryan Meyer and Tiffany who are willing to talk to me about it because I trust both of them to make me think about things that are important. But for me it’s different. I don’t want to say I don’t care because that’s untrue but it doesn’t excite me.
For me it’s success for the kids I have now in the system I am in. For me it’s each scholar I have a relationship with. For me it’s helping my school build in systems of support for LGBTQ students and students of color. For me it’s smaller? Maybe I’m a small system thinker? Maybe I’m not as progressive as Lawler would like me to be but I am doing the work I love, in a place where that work matters, with people who make me better, and kids that know they are important to me.
So, I think I’ll keep thinking small for a while. Focus on my interests and learn more about them because I think that might have been Tiffany’s point all along.