Better Math Teaching NetworkNews Network Member Spotlight: Jeannette Aames

Network Member Spotlight: Jeannette Aames

Meet Jeannette Aames, who leads the math department and teaches Algebra I at Paul Cuffee Upper School in Providence, RI. Jeannette joined the network in 2017 with the goal of creating more opportunities for her students to understand the underlying concepts behind mathematical rules.

What do you like most about teaching algebra?

What I enjoy most about teaching Algebra is that I see it as a kind of inflection point in students’ math learning, where ideas move from concrete to abstract. We see this, for example, when students are learning how to write rules for the nth term. The first time they learn how to do this, it’s definitely an intellectual leap for many students because it’s an abstraction (one small step for our unit progression, one giant leap for freshmen kind). This also mirrors where students are developmentally. It’s such an interesting, critical age for students, and I honestly think that out of any of the secondary grades from the start of the school year to the end, freshmen evolve the most.

What made you want to join the BMTN?

When I first learned about the network, I was drawn to it because of how specific it was (only Algebra I teachers). How often do we sit through professional development experiences that have to cater to all disciplines and end up being only marginally applicable to this very specific work we do? One reason we all teach math is because we’re total math nerds. This network allows us to grow and learn with other math nerds who do the exact same work as us but at the same time explore the multitude of ways in which it can be done.

Where do you see yourself professionally 10 years from now?

I see myself continuing to work in urban schools and finding ways to make math educational experiences more equitable for everyone.

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