News from the Central 1 Region
Jason Gauthier, Central 1 Regional Director
Well, it’s summer again and I hope you’ve all had a wonderful end of the school year! Normally, at this point in the year I share my summer reading list with you all. Sadly (or happily, depending on how you look at it), I don’t have a summer reading list this year. I will be deep in data analysis for my dissertation work all summer so I’ll have little time to read for professional reasons beyond the research I need for my work. However, if I were to have a reading list, here is what it might look like:
A Few Things that are New
- Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics (NCTM, 2018)
- Tasks and Competencies in the Teaching and Learning of Algebra (Friedlander & Arcavi, 2017)
- Servant Leadership (Greenleaf, 2002)
A Couple Things that are Old but New Again
- 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions, Second Edition (Smith & Stein, 2018)
- A Fresh Look at Formative Assessment in Mathematics Teaching (Silver & Mills (Eds.), 2018)
With the exception of Servant Leadership, these are titles that I picked up at the bookstore at the NCSM Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Catalyzing Change and Tasks and Competencies are vital reads if you are currently working on reconceptualizing high school mathematics. 5 Practices and A Fresh Look are more general reads focusing on mathematics teaching and learning. The first edition of the 5 Practices book was amazing and this edition seems to be expanded with additional features such as vignettes and sample lesson plans that I am anxious to dig into. A Fresh Look is a new book examining a topic that has been around for a long time, but one that we as a profession have had difficulty implementing. I’m excited to, eventually, dig into the chapters of that book and build a more nuanced understanding of formative assessment.
Servant Leadership, on the other hand, is a book that has been around for a long time, but this is my first time reading it. As I was writing a section on leadership for NCSM’s new coaching resource (look out for this at the 2019 Annual Conference in San Diego, CA), I used the phrase "servant leaders" to describe mathematics coaches. This led me to wonder where I’d gotten that phrase from. I’m reading the book for two reasons. First, and least important, is that I wanted to make sure that I was using the phrase correctly in my writing. More important, however, I truly believe in the mindset and motivations one has to have to be a servant leader. I don’t see my work as glorifying me or my ideas; rather, I see my work as supporting and empowering the teachers I work with. It is my job to elevate and advocate for them in the enormously complex and demanding work they do every day. I don’t yet have a full understanding of what Greenleaf calls servant leadership, but it seems compatible with my ideas of the concept. I’d encourage you to spend some time reflecting this summer on the kind of leader you see yourself as and the kind of leader you want to be. It has helped me greatly and I hope it can help you too. Not only that, but that kind of reflection is something that can be done while engaging in a good deal of relaxing summer activity. Enjoy your vacations!