2016 MƒA MASTER TEACHER
P.S. 321 William Penn
# of years teaching
MƒA Master Teacher Sarah Leaman finds that teaching her elementary students about the history of math, from ancient Greece to ancient China, helps children see how math is embedded in society. “I feel like there’s a huge gap in kids’ understanding of math and its relationship to technology and science. Looking at math history helps students start to see that civilizations have relied on math – they learn it is real and important and something that influences their world.”
Sarah says MƒA has changed her entire experience of being a teacher. “I think the most empowering thing for me is connecting with teachers who work at other grade levels because teaching elementary school can be so isolating from everything else going on with math.” Sarah finds great value participating in PLTs, mini-courses, and seminars with K-12 teachers from different schools and different perspectives. “It’s very important to me to be able to talk to middle and high school teachers to hear their ideas about what areas should be better supported in the elementary years. I’ve longed for something like this – like MƒA – my entire career.”
Sarah earned her B.A. in Classics from the University of Virginia, M.S in Elementary Education from Hunter College, CUNY, and M. Ed. in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. She recently led an MƒA Elementary School Cohort Meeting on Cuisenaire Rods where teachers explored ways to develop algebraic and spatial reasoning and understanding of fractions and area. Since being awarded an MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship, Sarah has been inspired to do more – applying for Fund for Teachers grants, submitting workshop proposals to NCTM conferences, and writing opinion pieces about math education. Sarah is currently planning a workshop designed to empower teachers to be self-directed about their own professional development. She is working to develop protocols teachers can use to help them analyze their own personal ways of finding joy in the classroom.