Furthering My Studies

April 14, 2024 – Developing an Expertise & Finding My Joy

Gosh. I looked for this photo on Facebook. I have a memory of this day and it turned out that it was a photo that was posted by one of my former Math 12/Calculus 12 students. I didn’t even read (or remember) the comments that were attached to this photo and others. It seemed like the conversations that I would have with others students I’ve taught (i.e., in teacher education and graduate studies). I was reminded that this is the kind of relationship that I would like to have with my students (e.g., relational, relatable, and fun-loving), but I was also reminded how I never stopped to “smell the flowers.” I could never appreciate or accept a compliment. I always strived to do more. I’m not sure what that mindset was about, but it has landed me where I am today. Right now, I am focused on slowing down and noticing… and appreciating.

Look at this photo… it’s from January 21, 2008. Aside from being a photo taken almost 2-decades ago and I’m teaching high school mathematics, not much has changed. I see my Mac products (e.g., iMac and iPod), I am wearing Lululemon pants nest to my Lulu bag, and I have a cup of coffee on my desk. My walls are cluttered with images of and from students a well as some art created by my kid. I think she was 4-years old at the time. I have shelves and shelves of books. There is some level of order with my level of disorder. And this phot was taken by a former student (and posted by my former student). I really enjoyed looking for this image, thinking about what brings me joy, and reading the comments that complemented them. They made me smile and laugh. I think about this moment in time and… I was happy. Life was good.

I’ve been thinking lately about building my expertise and what do I love. One thing that I do notice is my love for teaching math. I would not say that I am a math expertise of math subject specialist, but I’ve had a healthy career in math education and I loved teaching my numeracy class in addition to attending any professional development sessions in math education. I do have find joy in this area, but not as an expert, but more as a learner and facilitator. There is nothing I am more passionate about, that is, for math efficacy. How does one develop this sense of self-efficacy in math, as a learner and educator. Understanding this has been the underpinning and inspiration of my dissertation and maybe this is my catalyst to return to that work.

My kid mentioned to me that she would be ok with me pursuing another PhD, but in math education. Her comment and generosity brought me so much joy. Now that I am learning more about myself and what brings me joy, pursuing further studies has been very attractive to me. I was looking at an online MEd program, a PhD in person program, or a certificate program abroad. The cost will be about the same for each program, but what is clear to me is, this is what I love to do. I have so much to learn and I need to navigate my next steps that are more focused and aligned to what I love and brings me joy. I know that I can do this work and I what I need to do is to delve back into my doctoral research in conjunction with my autoethnography. They will work together and I am excited for the spring/summer term to explore this further.