THMS Mathematics department takes on MEAD

Talia Encinas, Features Reporter

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The 14th annual Mathematics Education Appreciation Day (MEAD) conference was held at THMS, Saturday, Jan. 21.

Hundreds of math teachers across Tucson gathered to expand their teaching skills.

The University of Arizona Mathematics Department’s Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers (CRR). The CRR organizes and runs the conference every year.

Rebecca McGraw, who attended the conference, teaches geometry at the University of Arizona.

She taught high school for four years in Bloomington, Indiana until she was offered a job at the UA.

“I had always done well in math and I had many experiences helping friends with their mathematics,” McGraw, who came from a family of math teachers, said. “I felt that I might be able to have some success as a math teacher.”

McGraw has attended the MEAD conference since it started, in 2004.

“Today I’m attending sessions, catching up with students and colleagues and I’m helping out,” McGraw said.

The MEAD conference is essentially a free program were math teachers can get further training.

“[It’s] A really nice opportunity for teachers to come together to learn from one another to be able to go to different sessions to see different things that interest them that focus on the grade levels they teach,” McGraw said.

“The goal is that the teachers are bringing all their knowledge of math and all their skill in teaching and just building on that,” McGraw said.

The sessions were put into three blocks of time, each an hour and ten minutes long, with breaks in between.

Some sessions were more tailored to specific grade levels and others are focused solely on teaching techniques, such as how to motivate the students.

THMS provided classrooms and equipment, such as projectors and computers, to make learning sessions possible for the teachers.

Different teachers and professors volunteered to lead the sessions.

“Teacher schedules today are so jam packed with being with their own students in their classrooms that it’s important for any professional to have the opportunity to take a breath and to learn some more and grow further in their profession,” McGraw said.

“One of the things I appreciate about the U of A mathematics department is that in addition to all the other mathematical focused programs that they have, it understands the role that it can play in the community and one way is by supporting the teachers,” McGraw said.

The conference is funded in part by UA’s Math Department, but there are also a number of significant financial contributions from individuals to make events like this possible.

“It’s nice to have a day to show how much we value people who have chosen to be teachers, in this case it’s math focused,” McGraw said

THMS named Waris Anderson also attended the MEAD conference. She volunteered to sell t-shirts for the THMS Calculus Club.

“A lot of people were laughing at the shirts we were selling because they were all geeky math jokes,” Anderson said.

This was Anderson’s first year at the math conference.

“I thought it was really special because there were a lot of teachers there who were extremely passionate about what they do and really excited about math,” Anderson said.

“I really enjoy math, I’ve had great math teachers here, too, which I think has helped a lot,” Anderson said.

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