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Jessica Shumway has worked as a second-, third-, and fourth-grade classroom teacher and as a mathematics coach for teachers of Pre-K through fifth grade in Texas and Virginia. She is currently an assistant professor of mathematics education at Utah State University.
During Jessica’s undergraduate years at George Washington University, she volunteered at an elementary school and a high school in Washington, DC. She tutored students in math and English and found that she really looked forward to her time in the schools and with the students. "The more I was in the schools and the more I inquired about teaching, I realized that I wanted to be a part of such an important profession." Jessica says that she became a teacher because teaching is a meaningful and challenging profession. "It is true hands-on, active work in which there is never a dull moment. As a teacher, you really get to know and understand a group of young people. You get to watch them grow and reach their goals."
She admits that she sort of stumbled upon math education as her area of focus: "I always liked math, but was never really passionate about it or thought about pursuing it beyond college requirements—until I became a teacher. The first time I learned to use base-ten blocks for instruction, I realized that I never had a visual representation in my mind of how our base-ten, place-value number system works. When I went through Cognitively Guided Instruction training, I was floored by kindergartners' strategies in solving multiplication and division problems. Each year as I learned more and more about students' learning trajectories in number sense and understood how the tasks I created for math lessons highlight big ideas for kids to construct themselves, I was hooked!"
Jessica now conducts research focused on understanding and improving early childhood mathematics education and works hard to instill a love of mathematics teaching in her undergraduate students. She lives in the small town of Logan, Utah, and enjoys outdoor adventures with her husband and their three young boys.