About Me – Amy Lin

I’m a K-12 math educator and passionate about improving math performance and attitudes in Ontario schools.  I have made progress in helping teachers see the critical role they play in empowering students to recognize the potential that a deeper understanding of math has to enrich their current lives as learners and their future lives as citizens in a world that values ingenuity, insight and confidence.  It would be easy for teachers to fall back, though, unless we thoughtfully and deliberately work together with school boards and teachers to follow through with the initiatives that are just beginning to take hold.

In the book “Ish” – Ramon has to overcome the “can’t” – I can’t draw or I can’t draw well.  It is a reminder that we can help students, teachers and leaders overcome the “can’ts” of improving achievement in mathematics – where students can do it no matter what anyone thinks, to enjoy it and have the confidence to do it – and that it is not just about “getting it just right”.  Mathematics for most is about being perfect and getting the right answer.  I think that if we spent more time thinking “ish-ly” we could build the confidence in our students.  The message in Ish reminds us that not everybody sees things in the same way and students in math can see things in a different way – and they need to understand that not everything has to be how others perceive it.  Teachers can help students be confident and be okay with their unique questions and answers.   The complexity of the issues with which we deal on all levels in improving mathematics teaching and earning lends itself to answers that have to be “ish”, since it’s dependent on so many factors.

To achieve long term outcomes, it is imperative that we can articulate why we do what we do – our purpose and our belief.  We believe that all students can learn math.  We can reach every student by reaching every teacher. We can reach teachers by inspiring them to do things that inspire them.  If we know the why – we can inspire, and not just motivate mathematics leaders and system leaders to support and help teachers change their practice.  The true sense of purpose of our work will serve as a compass to guide us to work in a way that is consistent with our beliefs.