Author: Lauren Burton
What is UCTM?
The representatives of the Utah Council of Teachers of Mathematics (UCTM) work to bring understanding and best teaching practices to all mathematics teachers in the state of Utah. This means that UCTM works for you. UCTM provides a voice to the Utah State Office of Education (USOE), the state legislature, the public, and to you to inform and educate about mathematics in practice.
The Bigger Picture
Until recently elected as the middle school representative, I didn’t understand the scope of UCTM. The conferences presented by UCTM have included some of the best training and information forums I have attended, and I thought that was pretty great. I also thought that was about it. When wanting to help with that production each year, I found that the opportunities to serve extended to more than just a single event.
The blog provides a forum of ideas and tips. The journal informs and instructs. Internet updates allow better communication among teachers. The representatives of UCTM represent Utah and all Utah mathematics teachers locally and nationally as we strive to help students. The representatives also help establish policy by speaking for you.
What this means for you.
Each of the grade bands (K-3, 4-6, Middle School, High School, Higher Ed) has a representative at UCTM. As mentioned, I now have the privilege of representing the middle school teachers. In order to do that, I need to hear your concerns and comments. What’s going well at your school? What struggles do you have? How can I help? I know some of you, but as I know more of you, I can better represent your needs to this committee. I also know that each grade band representative feels the same.
We become more effective as an organization when we better understand what you need and want to make your jobs easier and you more effective as a teacher. Let us know what you are thinking. You can contact UCTM or its representatives through the website or can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
How can you help?
Seriously consider presenting at UCTM. We need your expertise and value your insight into lessons, interactions, and methods that help students learn. Not only will you support and network with your fellow teachers across the state, but will also receive free admission for the rest of the conference. If you would like to bounce ideas or have help in developing a strand, I would love to discuss this with you.
Middle School in May
I don’t know about all middle school teachers, but MAN! The end of year can be tough. The only people more excited for summer break than students are teachers! Often, students are restless. (So are we.) They are tired of testing. (So are we.) They need a break. (So do we.) But as we approach the end, we can reflect on what we—with the students have accomplished. We are proud of how much our students have grown, matured, and learned over the past year. We will miss the student that makes us smile. We know that we helped a student learn math and “really get it” for the first time. We will worry about the student who struggled academically, personally, socially.
People are often amazed that we CHOOSE to teach middle school math. My response has always been that, yes, it can be tough, but when I go to work, I laugh every day. Let’s finish strong and enjoy the journey!