Tim Gunn, Math, and Mentors

You’ll have to forgive this moment of self-indulgence. Last month, I was over-the-moon-excited to meet someone I admire very much: Tim Gunn! I was able to hang out on the set of this video (more on that below) and because I had a fancy camera I still don’t quite know how to use slung around my neck, I became unofficial photographer of the shoot. I was able to witness what a true mentor Tim Gunn is to others and get a sense for how kind, humble, and sincere he is in person.

I’ve been fortunate in this life to have true mentors which, in my opinion, are teachers who are both knowledgeable about their crafts but, also, humble.  People who care about their students success as much as their own. I can tell Tim Gunn is that kind of mentor and I hope to be that kind of person to others as time goes on.

Tyler’s team at Scholastic produced this video about Math At Work which, in the end, is more important than my brush with fame. For a long time, I was one of those strange children who thought math was fun and I always did well in my math classes (mainly because, as a classic overachiever, I had no choice but to get the A even if it killed me).

However, when it came to standardized testing, I always had very low math scores and, therefore, I never saw myself as a math person. It never occurred to me to enter fields of math, engineering, or science because of, what I saw as a major shortcoming. It didn’t matter that I thought math was interesting because, all through my life, testing told me that I was not good at math.  

As Tyler teaches me, this mindset is something that a lot of people feel and a lot of educators are trying to change. They want to make math accessible and fun, and have students understand that the failure, struggle, and challenge of it are all part of being a math person, rather than not being one.

So, it’s worth reminding kids how glamorous math can be…particularly in this video of the fashion world with Tim Gunn and Diane Von Furstenberg.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1

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