I’ve been struggling a lot with the Charlottesville situation, and other hatefulness that I’ve watched unfold across the country over the summer. I teach at a building full of students that already feel like they don’t belong in society, who are marginalized for one reason or another. They don’t feel accepted, they don’t feel represented, etc.
They come to our building hoping to find a place they can belong, and I think for the most part they find that here.
I was trying to think of any way I could contribute to that environment of accepting, how I could send a message that says YOU BELONG HERE. WE WANT YOU.
This is what I came up with – it’s a small thing in the big scheme of things, but I think it will matter. Too often, our students come in with the idea that math is a thing that is already complete. That some old, dead, white dudes made up centuries ago and has stayed the same ever since.
I want them to start seeing math through my class as a living, breathing entity that is still being explored, discovered, and created today – in many different ways, by many different people.
This bulletin board was born from inspiration from a few other math teachers sharing their resources on diverse mathematicians (like this and this) – and I set off to try to include groups of people that I know my students will identify with. I want them to start seeing themselves as mathematicians. Hopefully this helps in that endeavor.
Ignore my awkward waving pose in the mirror…
Hoping there will be more selfies like this by my students!
I’ve already had some positive responses from people about the board, including people ON the board (which is crazy to me)!
Here are some closer images:
Notice that there are many more people of color throughout the board, but I picked one mathematician to specifically list with that title.
Here you can download a list of the mathematicians I placed under each category and the slides I created for each mathematician. Both of those files will direct you to make a copy of them to your own Google Drive so you can make any changes you would like to them! I tried to make the bios easily understandable for any high schooler to read. There’s also the attribute titles that I created (PDF – Publisher). The board title and the YOU under the mirror were made with a Cricut machine. The mirror is from Dollar Tree!
You’ll notice that I included myself on the board – I debated this for a bit, but decided it was important for my students to see their teachers as also being professional mathematicians (and not as somehow settling for being a teacher or something). Please alter this slide to include yourself! You could talk about your favorite subjects to teach, how you teach, the math you most liked learning…endless possibilities! I included some of my research I’ve been a part of but yours could definitely focus more on your classroom!
Edit: Someone brought to my attention that if you are British and decide to use this…Andrew Wiles would not be foreign! 🙂
If you use these resources to create your own version of the bulletin board, I would love to see pictures! Tweet them @MissMastalio!