Hello everyone!

I am delighted to have Pam Brett joining me on the podcast today to talk about math education, a topic often fraught with anxieties, triggers, and challenges among parents.

Pam truly understands the ins and outs of math education. Join us to learn where our responsibilities lie as parents and how to handle those moments when we feel we are not cutting it in the math department while our kids seem to excel.

How I Met Pam

Soon after moving to where we are now, I took my kids to a library story time, desperate for something free for us to do. While my youngest struggled and my middle child lost interest, my oldest confidently joined another family, and Pam was the mom. It was a humbling moment, and I even wrote a blog post about it back then. Over the years, Pam and I have remained friends, bonding over our shared passion for education while Pam pursued her PhD in math education.

Changing Perspectives on Math Education

Pam is the founder of Blue Glasses Math. She is on a mission to revolutionize how we perceive mathematics. Through her Blue Glasses Math podcast, she aims to eradicate the shame and anxiety often associated with math learning. Primarily working with teachers and administrators in K-5 and K-8 schools, Pam focuses on bolstering the confidence of educators. She emphasizes the crucial role of teachers in fostering a positive math learning environment while considering the minimal preparation many receive in math education methods.

Nurturing Problem-Solving Skills in Students

Pam highlights the importance of teaching students problem-solving skills and cultivating nurturing and supportive learning environments where mistakes are a natural part of the learning process and children are empowered to tackle challenges confidently. Each child is unique, so supporting them through difficult times rather than shielding them from adversity is essential.

Encouraging Autonomy and Seeking Assistance

It is essential to teach children to seek help when necessary while fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility toward their education. I encourage parents to embrace the role of mentor rather than problem-solver and empower their children to advocate for their educational needs.

Parental Frustration

At times, I have experienced the frustration of being unable to help my children understand complex math concepts. That frustration mirrors the sentiment of many parents who feel overwhelmed and upset by the struggles their children experience with math homework. I used to be judgmental toward parents who expressed similar frustrations, but now, I empathize with their plight.

Effective Communication and Intentionality in Education

Effective communication between teachers and parents is crucial. Understanding the intention behind homework assignments and fostering a collaborative approach can alleviate stress for parents and students alike. As a teacher, my perspective on homework evolved to prioritize learning over completion, acknowledging that not all students learn best through traditional assignments.

Shifting the Perspective on Math Education

Parents ought to be empowered to advocate for their children’s education and scrutinize the significance of assignments. Parents should also consider how they might shape their children’s perceptions of math in the long run. I also contend that it is crucial to reassess the societal expectations regarding math attainment to accommodate a variety of learning trajectories and professional aspirations.

Embracing Individual Pathways in Math Learning:

Encouraging students to pursue math at their own pace and according to their interests is essential. Not every student has to excel in calculus to succeed. Other avenues, like statistics, can be equally valuable. By destigmatizing math struggles and celebrating diverse educational journeys, we can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students.

Me Time

Owala Water Bottles:

I recently stumbled upon Owala water bottles, and they are a game-changer! With a design that allows for sipping through a straw or pouring directly, they offer versatility that fits my on-the-go lifestyle perfectly. Unlike other bottles I have tried, Owala bottles are leakproof and not overly heavy, making them ideal companions for daily hydration. Plus, their larger size encourages me to drink more water throughout the day.

Lessons in Chemistry:

If you need entertainment, look no further than Lessons in Chemistry- the book or the television show. I read the book a few years ago, and it remains one of my all-time favorites. The character development is superb, and the storyline resonates deeply with themes of female empowerment. I recently also checked out the television adaptation, which offers a slightly different take but is equally captivating. While some may find certain plotlines challenging, knowing the book enhanced my appreciation for the show. So, grab a copy of Lessons in Chemistry and enjoy the journey- on paper or screen.

Links and resources:

Women of Wonder (W.o.W) Founding Members

Information for Women of Wonder (W.o.W) Community 

W.o.W Landing Page

Blue Glasses Math on Instagram

Blue Glasses Math Podcast

Owala water bottles

Lesson in Chemistry