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Mary Touchet, a 3rd year Math teacher at South Sevier High School, may have taken a “non-traditional” route towards becoming an educator, but it’s her innovative use of social media tools and networking with colleagues that’s helped her integrate effective ideas into her classroom.
Many teachers enter the classroom with their experience as a student being their main frame of reference of what learning and teaching looks like. That's what I did as student teacher. Having spent time away from the classroom gave me the opportunity to reflect upon the research and see different ways I could engage kids with mathematics. I know for me its been a huge transformation and I have seen the impact of new methods for teaching math has impacted my learning - I hope to share that experience with my students.
Over the summer Mary found educational conferences were a great source of new information and connecting with other educators. She enjoyed the time spent improving her practice alongside the administrators in her school.
I'm kind of a conference junkie. I know there are probably other things I could do with my summers, but I love to network with other teachers. Learning from other teachers and educational leaders has had a big influence on my teaching practice. One of the best parts of attending Rural Schools was the chance to learn side-by-side with my principal and superintendent. It was an amazing experience to connect with my administrators!
As Mary has returned to the classroom she's looked to connect with teachers from many different disciplines and teaching styles. Social media has been a key strategy to expanding her learning circle.
My Learning Network has really expanded with the use of social media tools like Twitter. I've been able to reach out to teachers I've worked with over the years, as well as meeting educators from various states and countries. My PLN is really global in its reach by using social media!
A new project Mary is working on with her students involves having kids journal about what they are learning. Having students be metacognitive is a great way for them to work through challenging problems and discover new ideas.
My students are in a constant state of change. Whether its changes in their physical and emotional lives or simply in their understanding of a math problem kids are always changing. By having my students journal about what they are learning in my class it helps them see how they are working through difficult concepts over time. It's really exciting when the students write about an "a-ha" moment they're having in class!
Mary is excited to work with her students in overcoming math anxiety. She feels strongly that all students can learn math and they can be successful!
It seems like it has become socially acceptable to profess that "you're not good at math." One of my goals is to help students overcome that stereotype and feel more confident with Math.
Contributed by Jared Covili