Oh hi! School starts tomorrow, which I guess is the best time to be blogging? Sure.

What I’ve been reading:

- I’m about a chapter into
by Sara N. Hottinger. This was a recommendation from Nicole Hansen, and we’ve committed to being email pen-pals as we dive into this one together.*Inventing the Mathematician: Gender, Race, and Our Cultural Understanding of Mathematics*

“…our perception of natural ability versus hard work is gendered, especially in mathematics. Female students claim that they are not really good at mathematics because they always have to work so hard to succeed. Male students do not discuss how hard they work; instead they claim their success in mathematics just comes naturally.”

- I just started
by Robin DiAngelo and plan to participate in the #ClearTheAir chats starting this Wednesday at 7:30 EST, thanks to the generous and gentle nudging of the wonderful Marian Dingle.*White Fragility*

“The key to moving forward is what we do with our discomfort. We can use it as a door out – blame the messenger and disregard the message. Or we can use it as a door in by asking, Why does this unsettle me? What would it mean for me if this were true? How does this lens change my understanding of racial dynamics? How can my unease help reveal the unexamined assumptions I have been making? Is it possible that because I am white, there are some racial dynamics that I can’t see?”

- Dan Meyer’s post
*“Drill Based Math Instruction Diminishes the Math Teacher as Well”*which is a good starting point for folks who didn’t read the NYTimes op-ed*“Make Your Daughter Practice Math. She’ll Thank You Later”*or follow the many, many reactions on twitter. Also, this quote speaks to where a lot of my thoughts are at, presently:

“I’m

absolutelyconvinced that a) we act ourselves into belief rather than believing our way into acting, and b) actions and beliefs will accumulate over a career like rust and either inhibit or enhance our potential as teachers.”

- Michael Pershan’s awesome blog post for the
**Virtual Conference of Mathematical Flavors**called*“I Don’t Focus My Classroom on Solving Problems”*that also includes this great quote from Bill Thurston:

“Mathematics only exists in a living community of mathematicians that spreads understanding and breathes life into ideas both old and new. The real satisfaction from mathematics is in learning from others and sharing with others. All of us have clear understanding of a few things and murky concepts of many more. There is no way to run out of ideas in need of clarification. The question of who is the first person to ever set foot on some square meter of land is really secondary. Revolutionary change does matter, but revolutions are few, and they are not self-sustaining — they depend very heavily on the community of mathematicians.

Tomorrow’s the first day of classes. I know that my students will come to understand what I value by the way I work with them every day, not just on the first day. Still, there are some things I don’t want them to have to read between the lines to see. Like,

You get messages all the time about who is or who can be “good at math.” (Not to mention the messages you get about *what* math is, and *who gets credit* for its construction.) I want to let you know that one of my fundamental beliefs as a teacher is that your mathematical ideas are valuable. I will learn from you, you will learn from me, we will build something together in this space, and we will leave changed by each other.

I am excited to see where this year takes me.