Math = Love: Pause Please?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pause Please?

I need a pause button on my summer or something.  These past few weeks have been BUSY!  Vacation Bible School.  Tulsa Math Teachers' Circle Summer Immersion Workshop.  Presenting at the OCTM Summer Conference.

The MTC Training was incredible.  I had so much fun, and I did so much math!  I've always thought that I when I pursue a master's degree it will be in education.  But, spending 3 days doing math alongside mathematicians has made me start thinking about maybe pursuing a master's degree in pure or applied mathematics.

Will I actually pursue this?  I have no clue.  Just last week, I told somebody that I couldn't see myself leaving the secondary classroom anytime soon.

When I graduated from college two years ago, I was done with college.  I was ready to be the teacher giving the homework instead of the student doing the homework.  At The University of Tulsa, I had the amazing opportunity to complete separate degree programs in Pure Mathematics through the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences and Secondary Education through the College of Arts and Sciences.  I never quite fell in love with the process of writing proofs, but I think that experience helped deepen my love and appreciation for the subject.

Fast-forward two years.  During the MTC training, I remember thinking how much I wished I had been able to take a class in Number Theory as an undergrad.  This past weekend, I went in search of a free online number theory book.  And, then I proceeded to start completing the exercises in order.  The first sets of exercises is a set of proofs by induction.  As I started working through these, I realized just how much fun they were.  I didn't think I would ever refer to proofs and fun in the same sentence.

I'll try to write a more reflective post on my MTC experience, but for now I will say that it was a refreshing (and exhausting!) experience to spend 2+ hours on a single math problem.

This week, I'm at OGAP which is an entirely different experience.  It's 5 days of sharing best teaching practices and working through algebra and geometry activities.  And, it's this type of workshop that makes me think that I'd love to teach future math teachers some day.  Be a teacher of teachers.  This would mean pursuing graduate studies in education instead of math.  

Does anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow?  I promise I'll return it.  I just need to take a peek at my future so I can see what type of degree I should pursue.  :)

Be on the lookout for lots of reflection posts soon!


8 comments:

  1. I loved Number Theory! It was by far my favourite undergrad subject. After reading this post, I dug out my old lecture notes for it - there certainly was a lot of proof by induction.
    I would offer you my crystal ball, but it seems to be broken. ;) I've given up trying to predict the future of my career. I started in engineering at university, but my time as a youth leader at my church helped me realise that teaching high school kids was what I was supposed to do, and I switched to pure maths. After 4 and a bit years of teaching at the one school, I'm starting to wonder what my next step is going to be.
    I'm sure that someone as smart as you will end up making the right decisions. I've always found praying leads you in the right direction, even if it's not a direction you could have ever predicted. :)

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    1. Thanks for the feedback Shaun! You're absolutely right about praying leading you in the right direction. That's how I ended up packing up my life and moving to a town I'd never heard of to take this teaching job. It's been hard, but I've seen God work in so many amazing ways in the two years I've spent here. He's accomplished things through me here that I never thought possible.

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  2. With your passion for teaching, I suggest that you pursue a doctorate in mathematics education with the ultimate goal of becoming a math education professor.

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    1. I think that's something I can see myself doing. I've never been able to picture myself teaching math at the university level, so I guess further studies in math wouldn't be a wise move. But, I can see myself helping others learn to teach math. The college I attended was so small that they didn't offer any classes on teaching math. I would have loved to have taken one, though! Plus, how fun would that be to teach?!? Thanks for the feedback! I've got a lot of things to think about.

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  3. Hey Sarah after spending the week at OGAP. Im mulling and praying over some of the same things. Right now i think im leaning toward the master of education in math education NSU has. Something for you to consider as well.

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    1. I'm thinking about this, too. I just think I need to move closer to Tulsa to make it feasible. So much to think about!

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  4. So jealous! I've done our MTC summer immersion the last two summers, but they aren't able to hold one this summer. It is the absolute highlight of my summer!

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    1. I absolutely loved it. I can see why it's the highlight of your summer!

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