Mariah Vandertie, Green Bay, WI, email@example.com
In August, I spent a week in Seattle, Washington, attending CPM’s Academy of Best Practices for novice teachers. I was processing my five day experience while my return flight touched down on Wisconsin pavement. As I disembarked, I knew this for certain: the professionals I connected with, lessons that I learned, and knowledge that I developed would have a lasting impact on my teaching practices. Specifically, I want to convey the importance of one particular topic that was interwoven into the entire week: leadership.
The week took us through a crash course in professionalism, cognitive demand, productive struggle, assessment, feedback, technology, equity and so much more. Exploring these topics will impact my teaching practices, but what truly transformed me was the various levels of effective, quality leadership in our ABP classroom. I finished a fantastic first year teaching this past spring and delved into a time of self reflection. My reflections led to one critical notion: I am a drop in the ocean that is mathematics education. I am making a difference in the lives of 130 students each year, but how can I impact math education across the country?
The Academy of Best Practices inspired me to think beyond my single drop. Watching two ABP mentors, former participants and new teachers like me, facilitate such a impactful week and displaying such a high level of quality leadership inspired me to believe that I too could serve as a mentor in my school, district, state, and even national level of mathematics education. By experiencing their leadership, I developed a trust in myself that I too could take on a leadership role in the profession, regardless of my novice status. I also found inspiration in our three facilitators. They provided resources, connections and instilled self confidence to get involved in a leadership role. Lastly, my passion was fueled by the guest speakers that were invited to ABP. I had the honor of meeting the emeritus director of CPM, the creator of Desmos, and various other inspiring members of the education community. Listening to them share their passion for mathematics education inspired me to one day reach a level of leadership where I can share my expertise with other educators.
Strong leadership in schools can transform the environment into one where both students and staff can flourish. The ABP was my ah-ha moment of how to transform my drop of impact, into a tidal wave. I am entering this school year with a newfound hunger for professional development, leadership opportunities, and networking. I have made many incredible connections because of ABP and gotten to know novice educators that have found the same motivation that I have in Seattle. Because of CPM and the Academy of Best Practices, I am confident that a tsunami of change is headed for mathematics education.