What brought you to Hood College?
For my undergraduate degree, I went to a small liberal arts college very similar to Hood. I had a wonderful experience there and was thrilled to have the opportunity to work at a similar school.
What do you value most about your relationship with students?
Ideally everyone would see the beauty in mathematics, but I know that not everyone loves mathematics as I do. I’m always glad when students tell me that their experiences in my courses have helped them to come to see mathematics as something that can be understood and not only memorized.
Why is teaching your dream job?
I truly love teaching future and current mathematics teachers and am glad to be at an institution that values teaching. I feel that by influencing the practices of future and current teachers, I have the opportunity to improve the mathematics education of thousands of grade school students.
If you were to consider another career, what would you consider and why?
Before attending graduate school, I was a middle school mathematics teacher. I sometimes miss the daily interactions with kids, so if I were to leave college teaching, I would probably return to middle school teaching. I can’t imagine doing anything besides teaching.
Describe your approach to teaching?
As a professor of education, I teach future and current teachers. Because experience is one of the best lessons, I feel that it is very important to model teaching practices that I would hope to see in my students’ own classrooms. By modeling these practices and giving students experiences that are perhaps different from what they have experienced in the past, I hope to show them the benefits of different teaching methods. I see the role of a teacher as a facilitator. The teacher should guide students to new understandings by setting up experiences for learning and then stepping aside and allowing students to learn by doing, by talking to each other and by exploring resources. I hope that by learning in these ways, these future and current teachers will come to see the benefits of these ways of teaching and will implement them in their own classrooms.
What is/are your most memorable moment/s at Hood?
I love the line that the faculty makes for the graduates after commencement. It is a wonderful tradition that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Describe your academic interests and research?
My primary research interest is in mathematics education. Recently, most of my research has focused on the messages that middle school mathematics teachers interpret from curricular resources and how these messages relate to their beliefs and teaching practices. I have also recently become interested in the teaching of mathematical modeling. Several mathematics educators from around the country and I are designing a research project to learn more about high school mathematics teachers’ preparation to teach mathematical modeling and the supports they will need to begin to teach it.
When you aren’t working, what are you doing in your spare time?
I have no spare time; my three young kids (ages 5 and 4 years, and 9 months) keep me very busy!
Name three books that you would recommend everyone read:
“Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics” by William Dunham
“City Schools and the American Dream: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education” by Pedro Noguera
“In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan
If you would like to contact Professor Graybeal, you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.