Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris

Ep 44: Is it about personality?

April 20, 2021 Pam Harris
Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris
Ep 44: Is it about personality?
Chapters
Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris
Ep 44: Is it about personality?
Apr 20, 2021
Pam Harris

Though some people think Kim and Pam's voices are hard to tell apart, teaching real math has nothing to do with a particular personality type or style. We believe in seeing the humanity in students and empowering them with mathematical confidence!

Talking Points

  • Pam and Kim's results on the enneagram test.
  • How to leverage your personality to get support in teaching real math
Show Notes Transcript

Though some people think Kim and Pam's voices are hard to tell apart, teaching real math has nothing to do with a particular personality type or style. We believe in seeing the humanity in students and empowering them with mathematical confidence!

Talking Points

  • Pam and Kim's results on the enneagram test.
  • How to leverage your personality to get support in teaching real math
Pam Harris:

Hey fellow mathematicians. Welcome to the podcast where math is Figure-Out-Able. I'm Pam Harris,

Kim Montague:

and I'm Kim Montague.

Pam Harris:

And we're here to suggest that mathematizing is not about mimicking, or rote memorization, but it's about creating mental relationships. That mathematics class can be less like it has been for so many of us, and more like mathematicians working together to learn more new mathematics.

We answer the question:

If not algorithms, then what?

Kim Montague:

So, you know this about me, but I'm gonna say that outside of math, I've always been intrigued by sociology, right? I've always been really interested in it, and I've taken a couple of different personality profile tests. And a while back, I took this personality test called enneagram. And so maybe some of you have heard of it. It's one of those quizes where you take a bunch of questions, and you answer how, like how you would respond, just kind of on a dime. And it's maybe about what your preference would be. And honestly, I don't really know a ton about like the background. But the general idea is that the more you know about yourself and the people that you're in different relationships with, the better able you are to live in harmony and work in situations. So, you know, I took the enneagram test. And I politely asked, maybe forced my husband, to take it as well. And interestingly, just listeners, my husband and I, no matter what kind of tests we take, we're exact opposites. 100%, opposite. And we find it interesting that we are so un-alike. And frankly, the enneagram has been really cool for me, because I've been able to read a lot about what makes them tick. It's been super helpful. Well, Pam and I have worked together for 20 years. And so once I took this thing, of course, I pestered her to take it as well. And you pestered me for a while, but I went ahead, finally, I and I took it. And so I did. And I've looked at my numbers. And you were not surprised at all. But I was a little interested to see that you and I have the same top three. So a little bit about the enneagram. I'm not going to do this justice at all, because I've just started reading about a little bit, but there's nine sort of personality types. And they're numbered. And at least the one that you and I took, they sort of cluster them in the top three, or they give you your top three responses. So you kind of have like your top, but then the top three numbers that are kind of you. And then they also tell you the bottom three numbers that kind of aren't you and then there's all this correlation about all the things or whatever. But I thought it was interesting that Kim, you and I have the same top three. I'm an 8, 1, 3. And I'm a one and then eight, three. And if you know anything about enneagram, or you've been following Pam for a while, that may not surprise you at all.

Pam Harris:

So for those of you who don't know, an eight is the challenger. Number one is a reformer, perfectionist, and three is an achiever.

Kim Montague:

Yeah. And so when I was trying to share a little bit about these types with Pam, I bumped into a quote that represents type eight, which is what her top is. And I read it to her and it says lead me guide me or get out of my way. We chuckled a little bit about that.

Pam Harris:

And when you said that, I was like, Is that me? And then I took the test. And then I read the things I was like, yeah, that's kind of me. Yeah, a little bit. So Kim, I saw another one that said Go big or go home. And I was like, Yeah, yeah, that's also kind of me that yeah, that's pretty much all right. So my top three are all pretty close together. And you're more dominantly a one, right?

Kim Montague:

Yes, yeah, in my top three, I'm definitely more one than the other two.

Pam Harris:

And mine are all kind of about the same. So I'm sort of more evenly those three. Oh, and here's what I'm not, I'm not an individualist, a peacemaker or an enthusiast. I'm not really sure what those names mean, I'm gonna have to read more about those to even understand kind of what I'm not a little bit. So I'm just starting my journey into kind of understanding enneagram stuff.

Kim Montague:

Well, interestingly, of our bottom three, two of the three are the same. I'm not naturally an investigator, a peacemaker or an enthusiast - I have to work really hard for those. And here's a classic type one move

that I did:

after I took it took the test the first time I took the anagram, I went to another site and took a different version of the enneagram. I'm still a one And that's a classic one move.

Pam Harris:

Because because there's lots of emphasis on -

Kim Montague:

Following the rules, doing things correctly, right? And that's what I like. So this is fun and all, but this is a podcast about teaching.

Pam Harris:

Oh, yeah, right.

Kim Montague:

What may enneagram have to do with that?

Pam Harris:

Yeah. So we started off today because we want to emphasize two things that are important to us. So we started off the enneagram because that's actually not sort of part of what's important to us about math and math teaching is less about personality and more about these two important things. Number one, teaching real mathematics and mentoring your students to be mathematicians, is not about personality. It's more about what you believe about the nature of math and the ability of students to learn and really own mathematics. Yeah, so that's number one. And number two, how you can leverage your personality and your beliefs to get support for you in teaching real math. So let's start with the fact that it's less about personality style and more about a common set of beliefs about mathematics and students.

Kim Montague:

Yeah, people always comment, right that when we present together, you and I are similar, we speak very quickly, we're decisive or energetic.

Pam Harris:

Okay, read that loud.

Kim Montague:

Maybe, maybe.

Pam Harris:

And we've butted heads a few times, right? Because we do sort of have a similar personality, enneagram just prove that a little bit that we have sort of a similar personality type. And that has actually put us in situations where we do butt heads with each other a little bit.

Kim Montague:

Sure, strong personalities do sometimes, right? And we regularly say that when you change the way that you teach math, it does not mean that you have to mimic styles that we have or personalities that we have to make that happen.

Pam Harris:

Yeah, in fact, you might find it interesting that on my team, we don't really have any other Kim's.

Kim Montague:

We don't need more.

Pam Harris:

Because we definitely challenge each other. It's part of what makes us both so good. We beat things out until we're both satisfied. And then it's so much better than just one of us. But on the team, it consists of others with different strengths, different personality types. We kind of have to, Kim and I, have to be a little careful not to talk over Sue. Because Sue will kind of wait, until take a breath to give us her ideas and suggestions. But what everybody on the team has in common is our beliefs in students and in mathematizing. In fact, I won't forget the look I saw in Holly's eyes when I first did real math with her. And she looked at me

and was like:

this! Like there's this look in her eyes. She like lit up, big eyes. It was just like, so exciting. She's like, Ah, this is what I've been looking for. And I smiled. And I watched her join my team. Yeah, like it was so exciting. But definitely, Holly you'll have to tell us someday on the enneagram where you are, but we're going to be really clear, Kim and I are the only eight one threes on our team. ,

Kim Montague:

And I have an similar experience. I think I've mentioned this before, but my favorite teaching partner ever was nothing like me. We were total opposites, personality wise. But at our core, we wanted the same things for kids when we showed up every day. There was another person on one of my teams one year, who was very similar to me, personality wise. And we got along great outside of work. But we didn't see eye to eye about teaching and that made us not so great co workers.

Pam Harris:

That's interesting, right?

Kim Montague:

Yeah.

Pam Harris:

When we wrote bridges in mathematics, we worked with Hannah and Alan and Martha smart, careful, artistic, thoughtful. I thought you're gonna laugh a little bit when I said artistic there, Kim.

Kim Montague:

Because I'm not at all.

Pam Harris:

Neither you or I are, right? All of these guys were smart, careful, artistic, thoughtful. patient, helpful. And and they made us so much better.

Kim Montague:

Yeah, absolutely. So to your first point, being a really good teacher of real mathematics is all about your belief in students and your understanding that mathematics is Figure-Out-Able much more than it is about personality.

Pam Harris:

Absolutely. All right. So the second point we want to make today is that to get support, for you to get support in teaching real mathematics: look to those who share your beliefs about students and about mathematics. And don't let personalities get in the way. Instead, look to capitalize on what you have in common.

Kim Montague:

Right. We all have a responsibility to consider how we interact with people. Yeah, so I know that I have this strong personality and these super strong perfectionist tendencies. And I do have to consider that my way or my style or delivery method isn't necessarily the same for others. But the ideas and the mathematics should be.

Pam Harris:

That's so important. Kids and the math. We have to be together on those.

Kim Montague:

Yeah. If part of what I want to do is convince people about real math, then I have to consider maybe more than I naturally do, how I'm coming across or how I'm receiving their ideas.

Pam Harris:

Yeah. And so we work really hard at listening to people about asking how they're thinking, really hearing them and trying to speak to their experience. We probably fail too often. But we believe so passionately in opening the mathematics doors to everyone that we keep trying. So what do we have in common as teachers? Belief in the students as people with hopes, dreams, capability, futures. Y'all as you look forwards, towards building your own personal professional learning community, we want to suggest to you that you ask yourself, where can you get support? Where can you get the most synergy, and support in building your ideal classroom? Find those people, not the people that have the same personality as you do, but those who want to help you, and they also want to grow as mathematicians. They're interested in building students identities as mathematicians, as sense makers, as reasoners, who can mathematize their world, we want to position all students as integral parts of a thriving community of learners. We're so glad that you've joined us here in this community of learners.

Kim Montague:

So glad.

Pam Harris:

So everybody, two big things to take away. It's not about your personality, it really is much more about finding support for you to grow as a mathematician, and as a mathematics teacher.

Kim Montague:

Hey, don't forget to send us your questions for our 50th episode where we takle what you have on your mind. you can send those to Kim@mathisFigureOutAble.com.

Pam Harris:

And we're kind of excited about that question answer that's coming up. So send us your questions. We'll tally them, we'll put them all together and then the most asked questions, we'll get an answer on our 50th episode, so stay tuned for that. Remember to join us on MathStratChat on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on Wednesday evenings where we explore problems with the world.

Kim Montague:

If you like to podcast would you rate it and give us a review, we would really appreciate that.

Pam Harris:

So if you're interested to learn more mathematics and you want to help yourself and students develop as mathematicians, then don't miss the Math is Figure-Out-Able Podcast because math is figure-out-able.