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Hello, World. ¬…

Hello, World. ¬†I was recently asked where I’ve been lately (thanks, Jason!), so I thought I should stop by with an update.

Let’s see. ¬†Just over four months ago, I gave birth to my second little girl. ¬†Before that, I was pregnant, believe it or not. ¬†Tired a lot, sick a lot, and at the very end, hospitalized for a week due to pre-eclampsia. ¬†Not the most fun thing ever, but I got a decent prize at the end (really, she’s awesome – I thought the first one was easy, but Girl 2 makes Girl 1 look like a lot of work).

While I was on maternity leave, my husband and I reached a decision: After this school year is over, I will be doing the stay-at-home mom thing. ¬†I still love mathematics and mathematics education, and I plan to tutor if I can; a couple of people have already expressed interest in that. ¬†I also still hope to earn a Ph.D (still waiting on the university to approve the program I’m hoping to do). ¬†And I’m working with my master’s advisor on a book on using history in the teaching of mathematics. ¬†But I will not be in the classroom any longer. ¬†I’ll be at home with my girls.

I am really excited about being able to stay home with them. ¬†I’m a little terrified, but very excited. ¬†I look forward to spending time teaching them academic things – Girl 1 is three years old and eager to learn EVERYTHING. ¬†It’s so much fun, and I can’t wait to do more of that. ¬†(I’ve taught her the word “sinusoidal,” and she can point out curves that are sinusoidal. ¬†Don’t you just feel sorry for my poor children? ¬†And they’re going to be stuck with me all the time.) ¬†I look forward to teaching them to be generous and to give of themselves as we work together with ministries that are important to our family. ¬†I look forward to seeing Girl 2 do lots of firsts over the coming year or so. ¬†I look forward to being able to go and visit out-of-town family without having to worry about sub plans.

Anyway, so I fell behind on blogging, and I usually find Twitter to be overwhelming to catch up on. ¬†But I’m doing well, intent on finishing this year strongly. ¬†I’ve done some good things with my students and some things that had much room for improvement. ;) ¬†I’ve continued to use SBG, even through maternity leave subs (two different people filled in for me…well, actually three, but that’s a long story). ¬†That was interesting, and hearing from the students upon my return, I think one of the subs didn’t quite get it after all. ¬†But it’s hard to step into someone else’s classroom and system in general, and I do think she did a good job teaching the students, so it’s okay.

I feel like I’m rambling, so I’m going to wrap this up. ¬†I don’t know if I’ll be posting here again, maybe if I return to teaching or have other contributions to mathematics education to share. ¬†But I do get email notifications when someone replies to a post here, so feel free to do that if you’d like to get in touch with me. :)

The Dance

I have the odd little habit of finding the prime factorizations of numbers that come across my path (mile markers, page numbers, etc.). I regularly factor whatever page number I’ve told my students to turn to in their textbooks. For some reason, this is awe-inspiring to them.

Yesterday I was speaking with my calculus class about a particular number being prime, and I explained why I stopped checking factors once I got to the number’s square root. “Wow,” they said. (Note that my calculus class is comprised of three students, all of whom have gifts in mathematics, but only one of whom would say he likes the subject.)

I replied, “Aren’t numbers beautiful?”

They asked if I had considered decorating my two-year-old daughter’s room in numbers. While I acknowledged the awesomeness of that suggestion, I corrected them: “Not numerals. Numbers are beautiful…the mathematics, the relationships between the numbers, the way they work with one another.”

D said, “But it’s a cold beauty.”

No, I said, it’s not cold at all; it’s a dance.

He countered that language is a dance.

I replied, “But what is mathematics if not a way of expressing ideas? Isn’t that what language is, too?”

D answered, “If only there were a way to test the temperature of a dance!”

They may, and likely will, graduate without having a love for mathematics. But they’ll know that it’s possible to have such a love, because they’ve seen it from me…and maybe they’ll be a little more likely to look for the beauty, to watch the numbers dance.

Potpourri

Teachers at my school report back today – summer is officially over for me. Our kids don’t start until the 23rd, and normally we wouldn’t be back until Monday, but this year we’re having some additional professional development today through Friday. I expect it’ll probably be related to global things like our school improvement plan, but I’ll find out for sure in less than an hour.

I’m still having difficulty thinking of myself as a Math Teacher. I guess it’ll seem more real once I’m actually teaching kids math, but right now, I’ve been a History Teacher for seven years, and it just seems weird, even though it’s what I have been wanting to do. I chatted with a stranger in a fabric store yesterday, and when she asked what I teach, I said “math” and it sounded odd to have that come out of my mouth.

This next month is going to be pretty intense for me, with school starting up as I try to get my thesis completed. I had a great meeting with my advisor yesterday, and we decided that I’m going to narrow my focus to just Descartes rather than all four mathematicians. I’m feeling excited about getting the work completed, even though I know that the next few weeks are going to be a challenge to get through. (There’s also a quilt top I’ve committed to piecing soon, not to mention a husband and little girl who like to see me from time to time, and various other things that seem to pop up demanding my time. It’s that “life” thing, ya know?)

Anyway, I mostly just wanted to get a post up here. Since I’m starting back today, I’ll hopefully have more things to write about in the near future. :)