To my surprise (and I have to admit, also to my amusement and delight), I have just started the Ph.D. program this fall (2000 in the Mathematics Education Department. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be doing this program right now--taking Real Analysis, for example, a class I took 15 years ago as an undergraduate--I would never have believed it.
Why? Because after nine years of teaching high school (and some junior high school) mathematics in schools in Los Angeles and the Chicago area, and after earning an M.A.T. in Mathematics Education from University of Chicago, I had determined that I was through teaching and ready to write fiction. (As I have very strong interests in the arts, I have been involved in a lifelong quest to connect the arts and mathematics. I have spent many years studying visual art, dance, and story-writing, and some time pondering the connections between those art forms and mathematics.)
I moved down here to Georgia in August of 1999 with Evan Glazer (also a former high school math teacher) who started a Ph.D. in the Instructional Technology Department at UGA in the fall '99. I planned to work at a job that actually had boundaries (i.e. no work to take home--a novel experience) and to write 25 hours each week in a low-residency M.F.A. program. So...I started to carry out this plan, working as a staff person in the Mathematics Education Department and writing through the M.F.A. program at Vermont College.
And what happened!? Somewhere along the way (by December of 1999) all the ideals with which I started to teach had begun to be reignited. I also began to reflect on why I left teaching and what means the most to me in my life. (I determined that the most important thing, for me, is to experience and orchestrate learning.) I have decided that I am the ultimate poster-child for the Mathematics Education Department at UGA because not only did the students, faculty, and staff show me what a vibrant and caring university community can be, but by virtue of all of their hard work and ideas, questions I have had since very early in my teaching career have begun to be addressed--not with the goal of finding definite answers, necessarily, but with the goal of exploring rather than abandoning them.
Whew. So I feel lucky! When I am not at UGA in my office, I am still dancing a little, swimming a little, doing a little Yoga, and doing a lot of T'ai Chi Chih. I am a certified T'ai Chi Chih teacher and have taught at schools in Los Angeles and Chicago; at the Evanston Athletic Club in Evanston , Illinois; at Allstate Insurance Company in Northbrook, Illinois; and most recently at the Athens Yoga Center in downtown Athens. New beginning classes starts throughout the year--please email me if you're interested in more information: firstname.lastname@example.org