From Business to Baseball: NCTM Day 3, Los Angeles

Trena Wilkerson (on her last full day as NCTM President!)

I started my day at the NCTM business meeting. I wouldn't recommend that most people go to the business meeting, but for the few of us who like getting an update on the health and direction of NCTM, it's the place to be. It's unfortunate to see that NCTM's budget finished in the red, again, but given how rough it's been with events and the pandemic, things could have been much worse. Membership stands at about 29,000, with about half of those opting for the essential membership tier.

Nicole Joseph

Next I went to the Iris Carl Address. This year's speaker was Nicole Joseph of Vanderbilt University, and she had a very well-prepared talk to help us confront some of the inequities and biases faced by Black girls. At the end, I noted that she charged her fellow researchers to push to do large-scale, quantitative research studies. She explained that while we've learned a great deal from the many small-sample, qualitative studies, if research is going to affect policy, state and national decision-makers are going to want big studies with some statistical power. I'm really not doing the session justice with my brief summary, so be thankful that this is one of the sessions that NCTM records and makes available to watch after the conference.

At noon I met up with my co-presenters, Fred Peck and David Webb. David was our advisor at CU Boulder and we've established this wonderful tradition of presenting together each year at NCTM. This was the first time we've seen each other since the San Diego conference in the spring of 2019, so we did a little bit of prep and lots of catching up with each other. Our 2:45 session, "Making Meaning of Systems of Equations with Contexts and Representations," went very well. We've done versions of this one before, and each time we seem to get a bit better at it. We had a good audience, but had room for more, and I think those in attendance got a lot out of it.

W. Gary Martin and Jean Lee

David and I caught the last 20 minutes or so of a late session called "We Need More Math Teachers! Changing the Narrative About Mathematics Teaching as a Career." Jean Lee and Gary Martin were the lead speakers for the session, and just with the bits we saw it was really useful. Essentially, they're involved in an effort to share positive things about being a teacher. And it's not just their opinion -- this is part of a broader project that has collected data and surveyed teachers and when you look at the data, the salaries, working conditions, and retirement benefits are more favorable than the news headlines might lead you to believe. I'll have to check out the materials later, and connect with some of the Colorado folks who are involved in the research.

It's time for Dodger baseball!

Finally, I got really adventurous with the Metro bike share system and pedaled up to Dodger Stadium to see the Dodgers play the Rockies. The bike ride was probably more memorable than the game, as the Dodgers had a 9-0 lead by the time I left during the 7th inning stretch. Afterwards, I biked all the way back to USC, which is about a 6 mile trip. Add that on top of an almost 17,000-step day, and I'm pretty beat. But just one half day left of #NCTMLA22, and then I can rest!