Beyond the hills

This year, I’ve had such lovely opportunities to move beyond my own hills and  talk about math, teaching, West Virginia, public education.

Last spring, The Biden Foundation reached out for a blog post from a WV teacher.

This fall, I sat at the unbelievably large NCTM table, beginning the planning process to celebrate 100 years of an organization dedicated to improving math teaching.

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A month later, I walked through the doors of the National Science Foundation, as a team member of a project to INCLUDE more rural, first generation students in STEM.  

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Shortly thereafter, I had a 15 minute audience with all 55 district Superintendents in WV to explain a complex idea that won NSF Noyce planning grant funding about how we could connect the trenches and higher ed while leveraging and elevating our best math teachers to grow more great teachers and simultaneously slow the flow of great math teachers leaving the profession or state.

I find myself near the end of October, having too much undone laundry, too few dinners with family, too many missed special school days with my girls.  I’ve only spent a handful of days in classes with kids and teachers at each of the five schools in the district where I work, where I grew the credentials to walk in these doors, sit at these tables, win these grants.  So I am giving up some of the doing to advance the telling, to start the next chapter.   I am so full and simultaneously so worried that what brought me to this place will crumble as I figure out the next steps.

I’d love to hear tales of empathy or bits of advice… have you any?

Author: Joanna Burt-Kinderman

Math teacher, coach, designer and dreamer, working in rural WV

2 thoughts on “Beyond the hills”

    1. Nailed it. That’s precisely what I’m worried about, Dan. Super helpful frame. In part, I think the issue is that it’s so stimulating to be around other people with a single idea that it’s easy to get cross-pollinated in both helpful and unhelpful ways. I need to make space to think/write about the purity of my own single idea, which is somehow about the iterative finding of more ways to transfer the ‘action’… from teacher to student, from teacher educator to teacher, from depts. of ed to armies of our best teachers and even from support structures to rural first gen undergrads. It’s a focus on that single idea that connects otherwise potentially disparate work. Grateful for this perspective and push.

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