Reflections on a year at NRICH

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It’s hard to believe it’s almost a year since I left my teaching job in Hertfordshire to join the NRICH team. This time last year, I was invited to visit for an afternoon at the end of term to meet the team I would be joining and begin the mountain of paperwork that accompanies a job change. My visit coincided with the arrival of the Fast Forward December Study School, and I had the opportunity to observe the team at work with a group of Year 10 students.  This week I will be leading some sessions with this year’s Fast Forward cohort, and wondering how a year has managed to flash by.

The start of the year was mostly spent learning to find my way around the NRICH site and learning how to write and edit content for the site. I had the opportunity to accompany other members of the team on their travels and learned an awful lot from watching how they worked with teachers and learners, until I was ready to start working on such projects for myself.

I did worry that I would miss the classroom environment, and so it has been a pleasure to work with young people in Masterclasses and through the Tower Hamlets and Fast Forward projects. I was petrified when I first started at the thought of standing up in front of a group of teachers and talking to them about using rich tasks, but it’s something that has become easier each time I have had to do it. And I have really enjoyed developing resources for the site and having the space to be creative that I didn’t always have time for as a teacher. I get a tremendous buzz from seeing the solutions sent in to the Stage 4 problems each month, and on the occasions that I’ve had feedback from teachers who have used my resources in the classroom I have been beaming with pride at the positive comments made.

As schools wind down for the Christmas holiday I am busy making sure everything is put together for the January NRICH site. For maths teachers struggling to think of a New Year’s Resolution, they could do a lot worse than to join the NRICH Mailing List and visit the site each month for inspiration. As for me, I’d like my resolution to be to enjoy my next year at NRICH as much as I’ve enjoyed the first.

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2 Responses to “Reflections on a year at NRICH”

  1. jspiggott Says:

    I must say that for me too the last year has flown by and that some of the problems that Alison has been responsible for on the site have been fantastic. So now I must tell you my favourite just to give you a taste of what I mean…

    It is from this month’s site and is called Plus Minus: (http://nrich.maths.org/658)
    What a fantasit resource for exploring the difference of two squares. How can you not include this in your teaching?

  2. ajk44 Says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed “Plus Minus” Jenny. It has been a popular problem this month, and I very much enjoyed reading through people’s solutions this week ready to publish them on the site in January. Together with “What’s Possible” http://nrich.maths.org/742 there’s the opportunity for learners to really get their teeth into the difference of two squares.

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