Jenelle Hynes is a third grade teacher at Atherton Elementary School and current graduate student in the MA program in Mathematics Education for Elementary & Early Childhood Educators. She wanted to go into a graduate program for education but had a difficult time finding a program that really spoke to her. After searching for months she found out from a Facebook ad about the Master of Arts in Mathematics Education for Elementary & Early Childhood Educators program. She immediately contacted Dr. Cunningham, one of the directors of the program, and expressed her interest. Dr. Cunningham helped with the application process.
“I chose this graduate program because I fell in love with the undergraduate program at U of M-Flint.,” Hynes said. “I received my undergraduate degree in Education at U of M-Flint, so it felt so right to come back to get my graduate degree.”
Hynes cites her relationships with the facility and the small cohort of teachers and educators from around the county as some of the most inspiring features of her graduate experience thus far. Moreover, she is able to connect with research-based mathematics teaching with support from Dr. Cunningham, Dr. Wyneken and Dr. Piert.
Hynes also appreciates how the program caters to her classroom, and she has wasted no time incorporating new knowledge into her daily work.
“The research projects and readings are relevant to what I’m doing in my classroom and help me be more intentional about what I’m doing with my students,” Hynes said. “The program is structured so that you can teach, be intentional in your teaching and learning, and not kill yourself doing it.”
The field of mathematics education is evolving, and this program allows educators like Hynes to be at the forefront of that change. There is a substantial difference between what she teaches now and how she learned math in elementary school.
“There isn’t a “drill and kill” and “here is what you do” mentality,” Hynes explained. “It is building student understanding of why the traditional algorithms are what they are and the meaning behind them.”
And the pace of the program fits the busy lives of working teachers, with two weeks of meetings in the summer and one Saturday meeting per month during fall and winter. During the school year, the cohort meets online.
“I love this program and the pace of it doesn’t get too overwhelming.”