Mathematics is beautiful. It is stubborn, it is easy, it is hard, it is used to justify, to sway policies, to influence politics, to influence beliefs, and to defend arguments. It is expansive and it is minute. Its history is complicated, intertwined with racism, colonialism, and concurrent discovery. Its influence is mighty; those who know it, use it to influence and manipulate those who do not. Mathematics, flaws and all, is beautiful.
This year, I get the honor and privilege of helping you explore the beauty (and challenges) of mathematics. For 7.5 years, I taught math and loved it, then transitioned to be a math and technology coach for CJUHSD for another 7.5 years. Now in my 16th year as an educator, I am more eager than ever to be in the classroom (whatever that may look like) to learn and share in this journey with you. When it is deemed safe to be in the same physical space, I look forward to the opportunity to meet you in person. You won't just see me in the classroom. You might catch me on the baseball field, on a hiking/biking trail, fishing at a lake or on the ocean, or at a soccer/hockey/baseball game of my kids'. In the meantime, our virtual interactions will have to suffice, and I will do my absolute best to make the most of them.
Here are my commitments to you for this school year:
- For my Black students and families, to know that your life matters. I will continue to learn how to value what you bring to this space.
- For my families whose primary language is not English, to know that I will do my best to support the translation and communication of classroom materials and resources.
- For my families of students with higher needs, to know that I will work with you to ensure that your child(ren) get the services they deserve to be as successful as possible.
- For my students (and families) with difficult schedules, to know that I will work with you to ensure that you have what you need and that I will be as flexible as possible in making that happen.
- For my students with family in law enforcement, in the medical field, and all who continue to serve on the front lines of the pandemic, know that I appreciate you and the work you are doing.
- For everyone, to see you. I plan to check in regularly with you, not as a way to make sure you're doing your homework or that you can graph a line, but to make sure that you are doing well. And when you're not, to help you find the support necessary.
- For my students, to not overwhelm you with countless websites and apps and programs and logins. When you go to Canvas and open the page for your math class, the day's activity and everything you need will be right there to access.
- At the same time, I will work to challenge you as much as I can without overwhelming you. There will be things we don't know. Mistakes will be made. Mistakes will be celebrated. And yes, we will work to understand our mistakes, because in that space, we learn.
Regarding the content of the course, we will follow the Mathematics Vision Project materials, which are completely free online. I will send out more information as the week goes on about specific material and when you can pick up a printed copy. Out of respect to those affected by the Coronavirus, I will not be incorporating COVID-19 content into the lessons unless students specifically ask for/about it. There is a lot of data out, and it could be useful for conversation. However, I am keenly aware that this pandemic has caused a lot of strain and stress, and my hope is that this class can serve as a respite for some, while empowering all.
In summary (for now), I am thrilled to be a teacher right now, as odd as that may sound.
Welcome to Room 206, and welcome back for the 2020-21 school year.
- Mr. Stevens