In 2010, I partnered with Arlene Prestie and Michelle Morley to research Technology Supported Inquiry Based Learning in Mathematics. This was my first experience with research, and I loved it! As teachers, learning and growing our practice is an ongoing process. Documenting and measuring the impact of our actions takes it to another level.
Teaching differently pushed me out of my comfort zone in senior math instruction. What surprised me was how interested students were in knowing that we were trying new things. This taught me the importance of students viewing teachers as co-learners, and the value in students knowing that we are continually trying to innovate and improve, and to stretch ourselves in order to do our best for them.
My experience with our McDowell research project left me hungry for more learning. I completed a Master’s Degree in Education Administration and went on to leave the classroom and become a math coach in my division for five years. I am now in a different school division as a math consultant. I know I owe my interest in studying teaching practice and implementing research to my experience with our Stirling McDowell research project. In my work, I encourage teachers to try new things, make changes, take risks, and be open with their students about being a learner.
Looking back at the completed study, I realize how much I’ve grown as an educator since then. I reread my hesitant journal entries, and my documented frustration, and part of me wants to rewrite it! But those original thoughts of mine from 2010 remind me of teachers’ fears, doubts, hesitations, and vulnerabilities, which are realities for the teachers I work with now. My work is learning and compassion, encouragement, research and practice. I love it! I would encourage anyone to explore the Stirling McDowell Foundation’s opportunities.