Ruth Sullo is a happily retired, veteran math teacher, and a lifetime member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In the New Haven CT area, she has taught math in urban schools for 23 years, and in suburban schools for 10 years. Her nickname is Square Ruth.
As a math teacher, Ruth served as faculty advisor for student organizations such as S.O.S. ( Students Offering Support), a peer counseling group, and also Peer Mediation, two student organizations in which Ruth trained student members in communication, conflict management, and other leadership skills.
During her years of math teaching, Ruth also took studio art, art history, and art education courses at Southern Connecticut State University. In addition to teaching math, she also taught studio art courses in drawing and painting.
For 20 years Ruth served as a prison volunteer at Cheshire Correctional Institute, a Connecticut maximum security prison, teaching the Thresholds course in decision making to groups of incarcerated men.
Ruth's presentation for math teachers is frank but very positive, hopeful, and encouraging. As a teacher of Connecticut urban students, in New Haven, Hamden, and West Haven, Ruth became sensitive to how racism affects math students. What keeps Black students out of advanced math classes? One factor is that math is often taught "White", as if math and all its applications and the classroom atmosphere for learning it are from the White culture. White teachers don't see Whiteness, just as fish don't see water. Ruth teaches specific ways to make math class a more hospitable, receptive place for Black students.
Other names for unintentional racism are aversive racism, dysconscious racism, invisible racism, unconscious racism.
To Ruth, it is UNINTENTIONAL racism by ANTI-racist teachers.
Math teachers can find out all about this in Ruth's two-hour professional development seminar. Beyond the ability to read, a math background is the key subject that determines a student's range of career choices. Therefore a math teacher is a very important person in a student's life. Find out specifically what these unintentional racist actions are. See how easy it is for well-meaning anti-racist math teachers to unwittingly do them. Become sensitive to how this can happen. Learn what to watch for, what to notice. Get useful techniques for empowering ALL students.
Download the Unintentional Racism in Math Class handouts. Copy, discuss with colleagues, and contact Square Ruth with your thoughts about this urgent issue. To contact Ruth to do a presentation for math teachers, her email address is [email protected]
Square Ruth has many important and useful resources and documents available on www.squareruth.com. Please click the button below to view all the downloads.