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Hello and thank you for listening to the teaching math teaching podcast. The teaching math teaching podcast is sponsored by the Association of mathematics teacher educators. And the hosts are a bit anhyzer. Me dusty Jones and Joel Amidon. Today we're talking with Bob Glasgow, who's a professor at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. And we're talking to Bob for several reasons. But one is that he's the only math teacher educator in the university. And I first met Bob when I was an undergraduate and at Southwest Baptist University, and he was the only math education professor. And he's been served as a mentor to me, and I just was really excited to try to reach out with him. Okay, Bob, can you tell us how you started teaching math teachers,
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I had been teaching high school, I had a master's degree in mathematics and was a high school teacher, and my alma mater, the math educator in the math department retired. And they called me and started asking if I was interested, I actually wasn't that interested. That was a really good time teach in high school, had a lot of success, and been in a school where they've had five high school teachers in like four years. And so over the years, I was there, I built it up to where students enjoyed math, and were interested in it, we had good success. And so the reason that they called me was because I had that experience. So eventually, I did do an interview and ended up coming back to my alma mater, to be the math educator in the math department. And also, while I worked on my doctorate to get my doctor's degree, so I guess the main reason why I decided, you know, I've always felt teaching as a calling. And I felt that when I was a high school teacher, and when I started to feel the call to be a math educator, the University made me realize I could have a bigger impact, I can impact more people, more students in classrooms through working with teachers. Okay,
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great. So you're the only mathematics teacher educator in your department. And, and I know that your university is not that large. And so what would you have liked to known when you started this position,
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I was very familiar with university went to because I'd gone to school there. And so I think the biggest thing for me, as a math educator, that I wish I would have known, would have just been to relax at the beginning. There's this feeling of when you are the math educator, and you are the person who's responsible for all these future teachers, that you have to make sure they know everything there is to know about teaching mathematics. And I came to realization pretty quickly that that's not possible in four years. And I realized, looking at myself that, and even today, I see my own career that I'm constantly learning. And that's the most important thing is that we're always learning, and always becoming better at what we do. And so that's one of the things that I wish early on, and dusty, you got me pretty early on. So I apologize, but okay. I thought it was great. Early on, I felt like I had so much that we needed to do. And I think I did start with this idea, though, that the most important thing is knowing that you, you never learned at all, as a teacher, that there's always more to learn, and that the people who become really good teachers are people who are constantly learning and trying to be better at what they do. And so I think I, as I've gotten older, I've relaxed a little bit in trying to make sure that I talk about everything that's ever going to happen in the career. That's impossible.
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So what's the best advice you've received in those early years? Well, I
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had some colleagues at other universities who invited me to be involved in projects within service teachers, and one of them told me so that's the best thing you can do to get better yourself at what you do is to work with really good in service teachers. And so, you know, I took that advice pretty early on, and I can tell you, I've learned as much from working with really good in service teachers, as I did in my bachelor's, master's and PhD, and I learned a lot in those things. But I've learned a lot working with teachers who are in their, in their profession right now.
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So what advice would you give to someone who is starting out in this role, maybe specifically thinking about if someone's going to math department where they're the only math teacher educator?
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Well, one thing would be the advice I received and that would be me involved in volunteer and projects where you can work with in service teachers and you can work with colleagues from other universities, you know, in your state. I do a lot of things and have for a long time with state things in the summer doing professional development with other colleagues at other universities, math educators, as Well, in service teachers, everything you can do to volunteer like that. And sometimes back most of the time, you're not paid for it that makes you a better teacher. And so that would be advice. And then the other one is, you know, being in a math department, I've been fortunate I've had great mathematician colleagues to work with, but work in a positive way with them, they want what's best for the students, you want what's best for the students, you don't always see it the same way. But it's not, doesn't have to be adversarial. It can be working together, you have a viewpoint that they might not have, and they have a viewpoint that you don't have. And so working together on that is what's best for students.
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So as you think about your work life, what makes a good day? What would be something that was good? Could you give us a specific example of what makes a good day?
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Yeah, I think for me, it's when I see students, and this has been true since I taught high school. But when I see students who don't think they have the ability to succeed at something succeed, for me, in particular, I think of I teach a class that's kind of a unique class, it's actually a mathematics. It's listed as a mathematics content class. But it is really about connecting middle and secondary curriculum to college content, trying to make a connection, which a lot of students don't do. And one of the things we do in there is we have, everybody has to teach through a unit for middle or secondary curriculum. And since it's listed as a math class, I get a lot of students in there who aren't planning to be teachers, even though it wasn't really designed for them, they take it, and I tell them the very first day you will have to teach. And some of them are very upset about what they fight because they should have known it, but they don't. And I can remember, in particular, just a year or two ago, having a an international student in there, who was a really good math student. And when she found out she was going to have to stand in front of the class and teach. She was in tears. At the end of the first day, she said, but I have to have this class now. I said, you can do this, you'll be fine at it. And so that was a success. For me. That was a good day. For me the first day she taught and she did a fantastic job. She was so prepared. She really did a great job. She knew what she was talking about. She got the students involved in the classroom. And, and you know, for me and other good day, oftentimes those good days are when I talk to people who have graduated out there succeeding, I remember, a few years later, I know she went on to graduate school. And she let me know that she was applying for teaching positions at university, she wanted to be a teacher, right? And so those are good days for me when I see people who didn't think they could do it. And now they're successful at it, and they really have a passion for us. That's great.
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So what does the semester teaching schedule look like for someone in your, in your position? Do you just teach classes for teachers? Or what what does it look like
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we have a 12 hour load but small place, we often teach 15 hours overload but I usually have I always have a content and or a methods class for elementary math teachers every semester. I have methods courses for secondary and middle school math teachers every other semester. And then I teach a couple of content classes like the one I just described, that's really, even though it's a math class, it's designed for teachers. And then that's half of my load the other half. Somehow I became the statistics person when I was hired here a long time ago. And so I've, I've kept gaining more and more statistics classes, I teach the mathematical statistics class for all math majors, I teach the business statistics class and, and then I also teach the data probability class for elementary, middle school teachers. And then other things. Other times I have other things too, but those are the main things
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with the teaching load, and other responsibilities that you have, you know, in terms of service and research. So how do you get things done? How do you keep track of what's your personal routine for not forgetting to do things you're supposed to do? Well,
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I've always had a habit of I tried to really make the routine things routine and have a routine for them. Most of my classes, I take up homework in some form just about every class, because I feel like that's the way I get the best feedback and students get the best feedback on how things are going. I tried to grade I mean, if I have a class and then I have 30 minutes after that class, I sit down I grade those papers and I look at that those things right away. I try not to I'm kind of a procrastinator in a lot of areas of my life. But that's one thing I just don't do. Because I know how it piles up. I was that way when I taught high school, I guess I would say I have when I'm at work, I work really hard at doing those. Those kinds of things right away, because there's a lot of things in your job that just don't fit into a routine. You You're going to have students coming in to talk, you're going to have all kinds of responsibilities through the university. And so those things are not routine. So I try to do all the routine things as quickly in a routine way as I can, so that the things that aren't really on the schedule I've been, I have the time to be able to do
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okay. And I know things have changed a lot in terms of getting resources. And a lot of people go online nowadays to find different things. Are there some places where you would recommend people look for some good resources? Some things you found to be very helpful? That's one thing one thought about this question. You know, I
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mean, I always start, if I'm looking for something, I start with organizations that I trust, like the nctm website, and American Statistical Association, and I start with those K and T start with those kinds of websites to look for things. But to be honest, I spend so much time working with in service teachers, they tell me things all the time, I receive emails from them four or five a week saying, Hey, have you seen this? Have you seen this? I really don't have to look, they send those things to me and, and my colleagues at other universities, they do the same thing. You know, I've got a friend at Missouri State University, who sends me statistics things all the time. And I guess maybe I'm just lucky, but I don't really have to look hard because they send me these.
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They're great. That's great. So what is something and this doesn't have to be related to mathematics, Teacher Education, necessarily, but just for the the human factor, what's something you've been really excited about maybe something new that you become interested in, or maybe something that's just got you, you're pumped up about it? Well, I
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think, related to my job, we just started a statistics minor, which, you know, I've been trying to push for for many years now. But I'm excited about teaching statistics. And I was on the workgroup that wrote our new standards for the state of Missouri for six to 12, grade six to 12. And, you know, I'm excited about the things that that have been promoted. or in our case, in our state, we've adopted to teach grade six to 12, about statistics. In the last I've been teaching statistics for 30 years. But in the last 10 years, I've learned so much about better ways to teach. And I'm excited about those ways. I'm utilizing them in my classroom. But I'm also done summer workshops with teachers for the last four or five years about this. And, and there's more things to come. But when you see the things that are in, whether you're looking at a particular state standard or common core standards, you know, grade six to 12, in terms of statistics, and data and probability that there's just a lot of exciting things, ways to teach those concepts. I'm excited about
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that. That's great. So Bob, what do you do for fun? Early in my career,
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I had two little girls living at home, my daughter's wife and my daughters. And we did a lot of things as a family for fun. I tried my best to do make work work in home home. And even when I was driving along ways to get my doctor a long ways, hundred 50 miles to get my doctoral degree. We didn't move until I very into my program, I drove back and forth so that I can be home when my daughters get home to home from school. So that's been fun for me, my daughters both graduated from college and now actually work at the university I do. So we're going to have lunch together here in just a little while. We do that a lot. I love playing golf. The older I get. I'm having a little bit more time now that we don't have children at home to play more golf, and probably in the next in years, I'll retire and I'll play lots and lots of golf. So that's that's what I do for fun.
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I didn't know about the golf. I do know that you're the first person that absolutely killed me in Trivial Pursuit. I thought now I know he's smart, because he beat me in Trivial Pursuit.
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That was but it's called trivia for a reason. But yeah, my daughter, actually both my daughter's love trivia we, that's another thing we've done as a family. We've entered a whole bunch of different trivia contests. We've won like three years in a row one they have at our university with me and my daughters and a couple of their friends. So yeah, that's that's a lot of fun.
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Yeah, I definitely wouldn't challenge you. I don't know any of the sports answers. And I remember you knew that whole category. So I thought, well, I'm just out. Joel, Eva, you have any thing to add? Any questions?
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I do. I was wondering, you talked a lot about working with in service teachers spa. And I'm wondering what advice you would give to somebody who wouldn't just starting out somewhere and doesn't know how to go about like, could you give some examples of what that looks like how one could establish such connections and maybe one specific example of what you learned from working with them.
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The first place to start is in your local school district. You know, my daughters were in school and so I made a point of knowing their teachers and The longer I've been here in our local school district, more than half of the math teachers, and even elementary teachers I taught, so I have a relationship with them already, but I can go visit their classroom. But I think the most important one I did was when I started doing that on a state level. And I would say, you know, just go to your State Teachers of math conferences, and talk to people and you're going to have all kinds of opportunities as a college professor, they, they would like to have you involved in things. So the most important one I've done started, about 20 years ago, when Missouri started having summer math academies were in service teachers would come to a central location and have a week or two weeks of professional development and the leaders of that were college teachers and highly thought of in service teachers. And so we work together on that curriculum. Now that's been going on. In the summers for me for 20 years, it hasn't always been called the math Academy. But most of that has been through our Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics. And so whatever state you're in, there's there's going to be there are going to be opportunities like that, where you can get involved in. And those are the times where, when you're working with in service teachers to prepare professional development, I can't tell you how many things I've learned. And I'm not talking about just better ways to teach. I'm talking about mathematical concepts that I've learned from seventh grade math teacher that when we start talking about I never thought about it the way they do. And so, you know, there's just that goes on. I mean, I've been teaching 30 years, but I still learn things like that. So
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if I'm gonna try to summarize what you said, One piece of advice that you would give to a new math educator, is to look at for state level conferences and try to attend those and make connections. They're
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state and local, you know, their local, regional organizations, too. But the state is where most of those kinds of big things happen. And so that's, that's where I've spent a lot of my time.
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And if I were brand new, what would I look for? Like, would I look for like, regional AMT and ctm? What kind of conferences are you talking about? I
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think regional, you know, anything, AMT is going to be really beneficial to you, the meetings have always been, I always learned things, AMT meetings, regionally nctm, but also State Council of Teachers of math meetings we have, we have one every year in Missouri. And, of course, you know, National nctm meetings, but anything that you can get to. And when I say go to I don't mean just a 10. I mean, that work with people go to things where you talk to people who are doing what you do, you know, those kinds of things, where you're going to workshops, where you're sitting with a seventh grade math teacher and working with them, but those are really good experiences.
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I'd like to piggyback on that. Just ask you, Bob, it seems like you have a really nice approach for working with in service teachers. And I wonder like, what advice you might have for because again, you talk about all these different things you've learned from them and think about like the online resources, you don't really have to go search for them, because they're telling you about them. And how do you work with teachers and where it is a peer to peer relationship rather than, hey, here's somebody that's coming in with the answers. How do you balance that? How do you handle that relationship? So it's, you do have it on the, because it really sounds like you have a peer to peer relationship? Rather than, like, I'm the teacher, educator, and I can provide the answers. You don't see what I'm getting out? Sure. Yeah. I
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mean, I think one good thing is to go where they are, go to their turf, you know, I've gone to a lot of different people's classrooms. And I see a good of a teacher they are, I'm asking them questions. I mean, in general, it's just a humility thing. I never want to come off as I know more than you do. Because mostly use cases I don't, I mean, they know what they're doing. I can help them with things. And they asked me to help, but they can help me and that's what I tell them all the time how much they helped me. And then the other thing is just developing friendships, you know, relationships that, you know, New Year's Day, I
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had eight texts from all my teacher friends, you know, in service teacher friends who are wishing me happy new year, and I mean, we're just really good friends. So that makes a big difference, because then there's a trust level there as well. So that takes time, that doesn't happen immediately. But when you find really good people who know what they're doing, you know, developing a relationship with them, friendship, as well as colleagues, where you're on equal ground, it's things go really well, yeah. And you've laid that track and then when opportunities develop, and now all of a sudden you have these relationships, it's easier to like, hey, I'd like to work with you on this or they'd like to work with you. If they've got an opportunity at school. They can draw you in and versus I know you see so often where if there's somebody that has a project idea and they go to a school and they haven't developed those relationships, That's not gonna work out where, like you said, like develop those relationships from the get go and, and you have them not only to help out your profession, but also does sounds like to develop these, like really long term relationships or friendships. So that's wonderful.
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That's what makes my job fun. Awesome. And of course, the other thing is the longer you train pre service teachers, I have in service teachers all over the state of Missouri, who I taught, and I have a relationship with them already. So
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yeah, sounds like you have lots of people to invite over in and just demolished and trivia. So that's great.
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Yeah, that's right.
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It's like dusty.
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There you go. Yeah. All right. Well, thanks a lot, Bob. This has been a lot of fun. And we've really learned a lot and appreciate your insight. Appreciate it. Enjoy it. Thank you.
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Thank you.
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Thanks again, for listening to the teaching math teaching podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast. And we hope that you're able to implement something you just heard and take an opportunity to interact with other math teacher educators.