Contributed by Erin Null
Confession: As a child, I fell victim to the “I’m not a math person” syndrome. On the surface, I had no reason to feel that way…I had caring teachers, I got decent grades in math, I could plug in numbers and perform operations and get the correct answer. The problem was…I never really knew what I was doing or why. I never really “got” what was going on behind the calculations, and so I usually felt confused and disenchanted despite my parents’ and teachers’ accolades when report cards came out. We’re reminded in NCTM’s Principles to Action that “a rush to [computational] fluency undermines confidence and interest in mathematics and is considered a cause of mathematics anxiety.”(NCTM 2014, p. 42). That was me! I was faking it and I knew it. I hid inside my “I’m a language person” costume and let my anxiety fester.
Only later did I come to understand that how I was taught, not my intellect or ability, was the problem. Now, using math every day in ways that apply directly to my life and my work has made it come together conceptually. I don’t have to say “I’m not a math person” anymore. But oh how I wish that had come earlier.
Now with a daughter about to enter kindergarten and a son soon to follow, I look forward to seeing what the math education of the future can offer my children and all other students. The advent of new standards—whether they’re called Common Core or something else—mean that all students can have the chance to really understand the concepts and usefulness of math, as a language and a tool to solve real-world problems. Of course, good implementation is key.
I’m honored to play a role in this transformation. My job at Corwin is to help bring the best thought-leadership, teacher resources, and professional development tools and experiences to those who will teach mathematics to my daughter and other students in the years to come.
In that vein, we’re excited to be developing a new branded line, Corwin Mathematics.
Building on the solid foundation of the great math PD products Corwin has published for 25 years, Corwin Mathematics will offer K-12 educators the understanding, ability, and tools to help ALL students realize the power of math and its connection to everything they do.
Our goal is to deliver top-quality, research-based content that is instructionally sound and immediately applicable in the ways you want, whether that is books, digital professional development, or professional learning services. We’re excited to launch the first books officially under the Corwin Mathematics banner…Linda Gojak and Ruth Harbin Miles’ The Common Core Mathematics Companion: The Standards Decoded for grades K-2 and 3-5.
If you plan on attending this year’s NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition in Boston later this month, please come visit us in booth 534 to take a closer look at these and our other great math resources. I hope to see you there.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the year!
A “Bay Area gal” in her heart, Erin was born in San Francisco and raised in San Jose, California. After stints living in Paris and Connecticut, she returned to the Bay Area and rooted herself and her family in the East Bay town of Castro Valley. Erin joined the Corwin editorial team in October 2014 as Acquisitions Editor for Math, Science, STEM, and General Methods. Erin’s publishing experience began in 2003 in production and marketing, and she enjoyed nine years as an acquisitions editor at Jossey-Bass/Wiley. Her skill and experience lie not just in developing print and digital books and journals, but also training and development tools; online assessments; and online and hybrid workshops, seminars, conferences, and certification programs. Erin has a deep passion for helping young people reach their potential. Erin attended University of California, Davis, and is now happily married to her college sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two precocious children: Hannah and Logan. Back when Erin had spare time, she loved to read, travel, and is still an obsessive gourmand.