For many, mathematics classrooms are not places where they felt successful; however, my experiences with Knowles have highlighted how teachers want their students to succeed. I work in this contradiction to find ways with teachers to disrupt the dominant culture in mathematics classrooms to make every student feel they can be successful in a mathematics classroom.”
As an educator, Sheila Orr seeks to create experiences where every student feels they can be successful in the mathematics classroom. While a Knowles Teaching Fellow, Sheila was exposed to various different pedagogical strategies. She began using a combination of project-based learning, complex instruction, and teaching math for social justice to design math projects which drew on students’ communities. As a Senior Fellow, Sheila has built on this work to collaborate with other Senior Fellows around designing math and science project-based learning planning materials and professional development workshops.
Currently, Sheila draws on her almost decade-long experience as a high school math teacher and her experiences as a mentor teacher in teacher preparation to work as a mathematics teacher educator. Her work centers on the ways mathematics teacher educators engage in antiracist, justice-oriented pedagogies. In her current project, she seeks to cogenerate knowledge with mentor teachers around antiracist mathematics mentoring practices to support future mathematics teachers in disrupting the dominant culture of mathematics classrooms.