Great news from the front lines of education! I am so happy to report that our Math instructor, Ava Belisle-Chatterjee, is made of pure genius. I will freely admit to anyone within earshot that math makes me INCREDIBLY nervous. In just two days, Ava has made math seem a bit more tangible to me. It seems like something I can potentially make sense of and even teach with confidence. I can’t quite explain how she’s doing this. So far, she has been giving us problems to solve but no rules for how to solve them. We talk them through with a group, we take our time, we come to conclusions, and then we share our answers. Usually, a light bulb will go off for me at some point in our discussion. By the time Ava shows me how to put together an answer, I am usually blown away by how concrete my understanding has become. It’s a new feeling for me, and I’m eager to hang onto it.
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Last week, I was in Minnesota for their annual state fair. My husband and I try to go every year, because Minnesota is my homeland and we enjoy food that is eaten off sticks. This year, we were surprised and heartened to see many signs and paintings in support of gay marriage around the fair. In the November election, Minnesotans will have the ability to vote to ban gay marriage in their state. I have been watching the proceedings with trepidation, as Minnesotans are people I highly respect for their extremely neighborly values. The thought that Minnesotans would push for this sort of ban really shocked and saddened me. But since it was announced, I’ve seen this total outpouring of love, respect, and support for the LGBT community in Minnesota. It’s also inspiring to see the community respond to the ban not with hate, but with pride in themselves. I think a lot about LGBT students in the classroom and how much progress still needs to be made before every school is a safe environment for them. But every once in a while, it is absolutely essential to make sure we look at how far we have come and appreciate people who are still fighting.[flickr id=”7940914868″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]