Welcome to Maine Math Teacher!
Hi! My name is Brian Twitchell, and you have found your way on to my website, Maine Math Teacher. I created this website in the summer of 2017, partly to satisfy requirements for a graduate program I am enrolled in for Math Leadership, and partly to create a resource for teachers within my district and throughout the state of Maine.
I have no idea how often I will post an update here. I’d like to think I could add a new post every 2 – 4 weeks, but I also know how busy life can get for me.
There are numerous topics in math education that can be addressed here. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Math Standards
- Proficiency-Based Education
- Technology in Education
- Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets
A Little about me…
I was graduated from Oxford Hills High School in 1984, and went to the University of Maine in Orono, Maine. In May, 1988 I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and decided to continue on to earn my Master’s Degree, also in Mathematics. That degree took two and a half years, and I received that in December, 1990.
During my graduate years I was a graduate assistant for 2 years, teaching a course each semester. During my final year at the University I was a part time instructor.
In the spring of 1991 I began looking for a teaching job, as my position at the University was not going to be continued. I applied to several colleges as well as high schools in various parts of the state. In August, I was given an interview at Mt. Abram High School, located in Salem Township, Maine. A short while after that interview I was offered the position, which I accepted.
During the summer of 1991 my wife and I, along with our 1 year old son, were working at a boy’s camp in Lovell, Maine. At the end of the camp season, we had two weeks to pack our stuff in Bangor, find an apartment, and move to the area. We lived for the first 9 months in an apartment in Kingfield, and in May 1992 we purchased our house were we still live today.
High School Math Teacher
I taught mathematics at Mt. Abram High School from the fall of 1991 until the spring of 2015 – a total of 24 years. During that time I was also involved in a variety of other professional activities, including math competition, offering professional development in the state on the use of graphing calculators, and becoming involved in an NSF-funded standards based high school curriculum called MathConnections. I became a trainer for the publisher, and they sent me to various schools, both somewhat local as well as schools in different parts of the country.
It was during the early adoption of MathConnections that I had what turned out to be perhaps one of the most striking changes in my belief system about teaching. I realized that I had been teaching my students as if they were all going to be mathematicians like myself. I still remember, during a training on how to best teach MathConnections, the thought coming to my mind: “Twitchell, you are an idiot. Your students will NOT all be mathematicians.”
Thus began my journey towards finding ways to teach ALL students mathematics in a way that they could learn and understand. That journey is an ongoing journey today.
For reasons that I will not go into here, in the spring of 2015 I began looking for a job elsewhere. In a fairly short order, I was interviewed in RSU #74 in North Anson for a position as a “Math Coach”. I accepted that job, and part of that job required me to enroll in a new program at the University of Maine at Farmington called the Maine Mathematics Coaching Project. This consisted of three graduate courses on what a math coach was, as well as numerous supports from the project as I implemented my coaching practice in North Anson.
Today I am the district math coach in RSU #74, working in all four schools and working with teachers in grades K – 12. My role is to help teachers as they work to implement new standards and new initiatives, helping them learn new strategies for the teaching and learning of mathematics.
I have no idea what the future holds. For now I’m very happy working as a math coach. Unfortunately, it’s a position that is vulnerable to budget cuts as monetary resources dwindle. I anticipate several years here in this district, continuing the work that has started on fully implementing the current state standards, both in terms of content and in terms of teaching strategies.
As for this website, time will tell how it will grow. I would welcome you to comment on this or any other articles with questions that you have about math education. It may help give me some topics for future posts!