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Junior Faculty Spotlight: Teresa Dunleavy

Posted by on Friday, December 15, 2017 in News.

Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Teresa Dunleavy, Teaching & Learning, talks about her teaching philosophy and interests.

I am a learner. I am a teacher. I am a teacher educator. In my work, I strive toward equity in mathematics education. These identities are a central part of my professional and personal lives that influence how I approach teaching. My career has evolved since I started teaching high school mathematics, but what has stayed consistent is my love of learning mathematics and learning about education and sharing that with others. I seek to support others to find or grow their love of learning and teaching, and I am particularly interested in reaching individuals who do not yet know that they could love mathematics and/or who do not yet know that they could love teaching students who have not previously been successful in mathematics.

My journey has continued to support me to become a mathematics teacher, teacher educator, and researcher who believes passionately that all students are smart and capable in doing and understanding high-level mathematics, whether they know it yet, or not. Because too few students are successful in learning mathematics in traditional ways, I believe this means we have to redefine & broaden what it means to be smart in math. I believe we have to fight against stereotypes of who can be smart at math and work toward providing opportunities for all students to be successful.

My work is also founded on the principle that all students are smart and capable of working on & understanding high-level mathematics, and if you and/or your students have not yet been successful, it is because you and/or they have not yet been given sufficient opportunities to be successful. It can be extremely difficult to support future teachers to believe all students can be successful. And yet, central to my work as a mathematics teacher educator is to break down notions of what it means to do mathematics and what it means to teach all students to find opportunities to engage in rigorous mathematics.

I strive to support students and teachers to think this way, and hope that we are on the path toward a society that truly believes everyone can be successful.

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