1. Do some math
We're worse than the kids. We get caught up in the daily grind of making sure content gets covered that we forget the fun and interest that mathematics can provide. We need to make the time and space in our staff lounge to pose problems and hear how others may solve them.
In the middle of the day.
People want to be challenged, they want to be curious, and they want to be right. Let's provide that on a more regular basis. Plenty of prompts are over at tabletalkmath.com/resources.
2. Get Uncomfortable
Even if you have zero educators of color on your staff, there are some things that you should be doing to bring in diverse perspectives and history. One of my favorites is the work that Annie Perkins started in her Mathematicians Project.
In this Awesome Table, Annie has listed over 100 mathematicians who are not Straight White Dudes, which is an important thing to discuss. If you think about the people we celebrate for "discovering" many of the things we use in math class, most of them are... white dudes.
Here's a challenge for you, then: pick out one of the people on the list that Annie created, print out a picture and description of that mathematician, and post it in the staff lounge. The history teachers, science teachers, and ELA teachers could all benefit from seeing prominent figures of the math community highlighted as well!
3. Surround Yourself With People Who Will Push You
Not only that, but there are two other groups of people who have begun to influence my thinking in the last year or two. #EduColor and #ClearTheAir are two hashtags that cause me to reflect on my practices and push myself to be better. I encourage you to do the same, even if it doesn't mean that you engage. Just read, learn, listen, and find a way to put something into action.
4. Take a Risk
I am a very reserved person, believe it or not. I don't like large crowds, don't like public attention, and would much prefer the 1-1 interactions than the 300-1. With that said, there needs to be some risk that I can take to get better, to be better.
One way of working on this is to create a different feel for the staff lounge in terms of the conversations that we have. Below are a few sentence frames that you can print out and post in the staff lounge to remind teachers that we are here for positive reasons, that our kids are what matter most, and that our jobs are meaningful in ways we cannot always see.
Thank you to everyone who came to the session and shared their own vantage points and ideas. It was a great discussion!
Happy "Staff Lounge Under Construction" Fishing