Towards a New View of Mathematics Education

Now I can’t pledge allegiance to your flag Cause I can’t find no reconciliation with your past When there was nothing equal for my people in your math You forced us in the ghetto and then you took our dads” –Lupe Fiasco, “Strange Fruition” They schools ain’t teachin us, what we need to know to survive –Dead Prez, “They School” I believe that mathematics education should be based on the individual’s community’s needs. Answering questions such as how can we provide for ourselves and our families? How can I grow a garden in…continue reading →

Teacher Troublemaker

“Here comes the troublemaker…” “You are like a little Mandela…” “You are too militant…” “You definitely are a little edgy [in reference to my fashion]” “Your teaching style is…unorthodox…” “Is that a Hawaiian shirt you are wearing in December…” “You are not raising hell, you are bringing Heaven to humanity…” “Teachers can dress like that?…” “Mr. T…come see me in my office…” “Mr. T…please report to the office” If there is one word that most people at my school would use to describe me it would probably be troublemaker. Troublemaker is defined as…continue reading →

Superheroes for Girls and Fairy Tales for Boys in the Classroom and Beyond

When I was a child I played with action figures with my brother after watching cartoons. We would watch the shows to generate the screenplays for what we would reenact with our action figures. After watching our classic shows such as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, X-Men, Spiderman, Batman and many other shows along these lines we would retreat to our bedroom to play with our toys. One time my sister wanted to play with us, but the issue was that she had mostly Barbie dolls.We had been under the influence that Barbie dolls and action figure…continue reading →

Self-Determination Beyond Gender Norms

“Mr. E, when are you going to cut your hair?” A student of mine in seventh grade looked at me, half laughing, half not, not meaning to make a joke but just asking an honest question. “What?” I said, returning his half laugh and pushing my bangs back. “I like my hair.” In an attempt to have long hair (because, well, why not?) I haven’t cut my hair since August. The light brown mop on my head has finally grown past what I’ve dubbed the Awkward Middle-Length Period to the Okay-Looking Middle-Length Period.…continue reading →

When Bias is a Crayon

My stomach was butterflies, or not butterflies, something worse. Something much, much worse. Moments away from the first lesson I would ever do with students, I wanted to run away. Feign ill. Magically evaporate. Whatever it took to put the moment off just a little longer. It didn’t help that the lesson was on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you know anything about me, it’s that I am not a Shakespeare fan. If it were solely my choice, I would probably never teach a Shakespeare play in my classroom. Okay, maybe I would, but…continue reading →

The Kid Who Became a Teacher

Upon first walking in classroom, you will notice the plethora of Marvel action figures posted on top of a shelf. The majority of the action figures are Spiderman, since he is obviously the one of the greatest superheroes. Also, on top of my shelf, you will notice a Thor action figure which was gifted to me by a student as well as many other Spiderman action figures given to me by my students and other children I have worked with as well. If you walk behind me and look at the walls, you will…continue reading →

“He’ll Never Catch Up”

“He’ll never catch up.” Those words were said sixteen years ago by one of my teachers to my father. I was at a very low point in my life, questioning whether I was following the right path. I’ve spent the majority of my life with anxiety and depression and it came to a head that night my father and I talked. It’s a constant up and down where you’re battling yourself for some peace and quiet. My biggest critic was myself, until that night. My father saw the anguish in my face and…continue reading →

The Schools We Need vs. The Schools That Need Us

Every time I drive home from the University of Georgia to the South Carolina coast, I survey the small, rural towns. Antebellum houses sit next to main streets long abandoned, quickly giving way to farms and empty warehouses. The lack of opportunity is palpable. I used to be able to just appreciate the beauty, but now all I hear in my head is, could I teach here? Could I live here? When I finally decided to go into teaching, I wanted to end up in the neglected southern schools I had been lucky not to…continue reading →

Upon Being Called Father

Students often ask me why I do not have any kids. I tell them I have a whole bunch of kids. I always have and will refer to my students as my kids, since that is the bond I build with any student I come in contact with throughout my journey as an educator. This year I tell them I have fourteen kids (since I have fourteen kids on my roster). They look at me with a sense of bewilderment when I say that, but when I begin to list off their names…continue reading →

MISS BETTY, BURROS & CAPEMAKERS

Often times when we write and speak about teaching experiences or what served as the light to our path we forget the everyday people. As my student teaching drew to a close and as I now search for employment as an educator, I still reflect on an interaction I had last August with a woman I like to refer to as Miss Betty. When I think of Miss Betty, I think of the Palm Sunday narrative in which Jesus finds a mule and rides it into Jerusalem (John 12:14). This mule had no…continue reading →