This summer, I learned so much about what math education research looks like, along with ways that I can contribute to current research on mathematics pedagogy. With Dr. Walker, I was really able to experience what it takes to start a new project that is research based, such as writing a new book or organizing a conference. Working remotely also challenged my time management skills by urging me to dedicate enough time to tasks, so that things were not left to be completed at the last minute, especially since I was not as familiar with some of the databases I was using. Navigating the Augusta Chronicle Archives to find information about Ware High School - the first public high school for African Americans - challenged me to go deeper than superficial, quick Google searches; I think it helped me grasp thorough information about the history of Augusta and the context of Ware.
As I had mentioned in previous reports, my work with Dr. Walker, this summer, helped me understand the importance of looking critically at the history of math education and the fashion that math and other STEM-related subjects are currently taught. During my internship with Dr. Walker, I also had the opportunity to participate in the Teaching Experience for Undergraduates at Brown University, which included the opportunity to present part of my work from senior year at the Annual Noyce Summit. Through these incredible opportunities, it continuously reminded me of how important the work I was doing with Dr. Walker was. Working with her to find articles and information on Ware was so extremely important to me, since it was a topic that I had never discussed in a classroom, which became furthermore apparent for me. I spent a lot of time in Providence wondering why the power dynamics of coming into an “urban” classroom, where most of the teachers do not look like the students was not addressed, especially during a time in the summer that our country was losing Black bodies to police. Fortunately, my teaching trio opened the floor for students to discuss current events in the classroom. Students were able to share their feelings through art and performance in a talent show; however, I think we really could have focused more on what we, as teachers, should be doing to support students and create a space for them to talk about those feelings in class. Most of my time in Barnard education classes was spent discussing these important issues facing the field of education, which is where my interest and passion for teaching math for social justice really stems from. Even at the Noyce Summit, where I presented a social justice math lesson plan, it was shocking for me to see our workshop: Melting the Neutrality of Math become one of the only workshops (out of 32) that explicitly focused on teaching for social justice.
This summer taught me a lot of skills that I will definitely need as I move toward post-graduate plans, such as going to graduate school and preparing to become a teacher. This summer also reminded me of my passion to continue thinking about social justice and STEM topics in the classrooms, in order to erase the idea that there is only one way to learn math or science, which includes ways to promote visibility of marginalized groups in curricula. I’m really grateful for these experiences, and I hope to keep them with me as I move forward.