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President’s Message – January 2017

What a great conference we had in December!  The sessions were so good and the opportunity to connect with other mathematics educators is always rejuvenating.

I saw many of our “I Teach Math . . .  What’s Your Superpower?” shirts at the conference and this got me thinking about superheroes and how their powers really stack up against those of teachers.  Being a bit of a nerd (I’m sure you are not surprised!), I did some research on the power of some superheroes.  Some of these I’d never heard of before!

1.    Wolverine – Wolverine, a fictional character appearing in Marvel comic books, has the power of healing.  Not a bad superpower but certainly not that unique.  Teachers also have the power of healing.  As you know well, often teachers are the ones who heal the hurt our children bring to school each day.  Teachers fill the empty spaces in students’ hearts—a powerful form of healing.  With innovative teaching strategies and determination, math teachers heal the “I just can’t do math” virus that has infected our children.

2.    Wonder Woman    Wonder Woman, a fictional superhero and warrior princess of the Amazonian people, possesses many superpowers including the ability to speak any language at any time.  Again, not a bad thing to be able to do but teachers also have this amazing power.  Teachers have the ability to speak and understand “Kid” and “Teenager” language.  We have the ability to translate complex concepts into words our children can understand.  Pretty impressive!

3.     Professor Xavier    – Professor Charles Francis Xavier is a fictional character in Marvel Comics who can read and control the minds of others.  Teachers do that!  We have the ability to know when children need to use the restroom, when their excuses for not having assignments complete are legitimate, and when their actions really have little to do with us and more to do with what’s going on in their lives.  We have the ability to change their mindset that recognizes with effort they can succeed in math.

4.   Incredible Hulk  – A character in Marvel Comics, the Incredible Hulk has incredible strength which grows as he becomes angry.  Again, isn’t this a power collectively teachers have?  As decisions not in the best interest of our students are made, our collective strength can certainly bring about change.  

Like you, I’ve met many superhero teachers who are daily filling the role of hero for their students and for other teachers.  Being a hero every day is hard work but I know we’re up for the task!  Really, who needs the power of invisibility when you have the power to make a difference each day?

Dr. Ann McCoy,

MCTM President

University of Central Missouri


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