I&U Ep4: What is your math story?

Welcome to Episode 4 of my summer video series—Imperfect and Unfinished: Stories for Reflection and Teacher Renewal

Teaching is a cultural activity.  People within a culture share a mental picture of what teaching is like. We call this mental picture a script. 

James Stigler and James Hiebert, The Teaching Gap

Where we’ve been…

In Episode 3, I shared a bit about my own “bests and worsts” as a teacher and invited you to gain some self-knowledge and to have the courage to look into mirror and not run from what you see. Because sometimes, our passion can be an obstacle to becoming the teacher our students need us to be.

Where we’re going…

In Episode 4, I share a my math story as a way of showing you that teaching is more than just an act of individuality—it is a cultural activity.

We tend to teach how we were taught—especially in the math classroom.

To become a better math teacher, we have to challenge a story our culture has been telling itself for a very long time about how “math class” should go. And changing a cultural story is really hard—because we have so many deeply held beliefs about teaching that are tacit—they exist below the surface. We are not aware of them until we bring them up into the light. Only then can we examine them—interrogate them. And we need to, because much of what we’ve internalized about math class as students can be quite unproductive to our work as math teachers. 

Find out more by watching the video above! In the reflection activity below, I invite you (and your colleagues) to reflect on your math story and how it impacted your teaching journey—for better and worse.

See you down the road!



Every episode of Imperfect and Unfinished has an invitation to reflect and a downloadable resource.

Share your story with us. Here’s how!

I hope the stories and activities in these videos help us create communities of belonging and grace—the type of relationships we need as imperfect and unfinished teachers. And I’m inviting you to share your story with us and the people you work with.

  • Reach out to a colleague. Send them a link to Episode 1. Tell them what your experience has been like and invite them on the journey with us.
  • Share your experience with us in the comments section of this blog post. And perhaps take a moment to reply to a comment that’s been written.
  • Join us in our Facebook Group: The Imperfect and Unfinished Math Teacher. It’s not just for math teachers. If you’re enjoying these videos, come on over and find us there.
  • Follow me on Twitter (@mathgeek76) and let’s start a conversation. We’re using #ImperfectUnfinished.
  • Send me an email at chase@undercovercalculus.com. You’re not alone. I’ll geek out with you.

Download the “What is your math story?” Activity for free!

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