The teaching of high school mathematics has changed drastically over just the past decade. In my ten years of teaching in one school and now two in another, I have single-handedly seen 13 different math teachers come and go. What has changed? Where are they going? What are they doing? And, most importantly, why? I can probably answer these four questions to some degree, but the better question is, “how do we keep them?”
In a report by the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute, teacher preparation enrollment declined by about 35% between 2009 and 2014. This does not bode well for the future of education in general, so what can we do to promote mathematics majors to enter the field of education after college? My talk will present a picture of mathematics education over the last 12 years and will include an interactive discussion with future math teachers, those that are pondering a career in mathematics education, and to current mathematics professors. We will look at the good and the bad of today’s changing classroom dynamic and what we can do to help each other be successful and stay in the field for an extended period of time.
It is my hope that attendees will come prepared to ask questions and be willing to discuss the expectations and reality of today’s secondary classroom environment. Practicum experiences, student teaching, and any pre-career hands-on classroom time are great preparation, but nothing you do, see, or hear can get you ready for that very first day, that very first month, or even that very first year. If we have a better idea of what we are truly getting ourselves in to, we can help each other promote longevity in this career and maybe, just maybe convince others to branch into mathematics education after college or change over from another career.
Brandon Taylor is an instructor of mathematics at the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School (RVGS) for Science and Technology in Roanoke, Virginia. He graduated from Longwood in May 2007 with a degree in applied mathematics and then received his master’s degree in mathematics for secondary educators from Radford in 2009. He began his teaching career in the fall of 2007 for Botetourt County Public where he taught for ten years.
Now in the second year of a new endeavor, Brandon is currently teaching AP Calculus AB and BC at RVGS while serving as the school’s contact person for statistics for student research projects. He got married in the summer of 2015 and he and his wife Ashley have a daughter, Ella, who just turned a year old. Brandon is passionate about teaching mathematics and is interested in helping future teachers achieve their dream of making a long-lasting career in the field of education. Outside of school, he enjoys being outside, watching sports, and traveling as a national go-kart racing official.