Embrace the journey of learning & enjoy the ride
In each issue of our digital magazine, Degrees, we feature an up-and-coming educator and give you a glimpse of their life inside and outside of the classroom. For issue one, we spoke with Assistant Professor Marilee Murray of Columbia State Community College in Tennessee and asked what learning means to her.
Marilee graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and received a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. She originally planned to become a high school teacher, but thanks to her mentor and time spent as an aide in a calculus class, she realized that higher education was her true calling.
Marilee enjoys changing students’ perceptions and attitudes toward math and hates it when people tell her “I’m not a math person.” Her favorite social media tools for teaching include Desmos—an impressive and free online tool for building graphs and visualizing data. Speaking of social media, Marilee loves to include Twitter in her lessons. She uses it to share course info, tips, and learning resources on her Twitter account. It helps her keep her shared info concise and in one place. She keeps it professional by not following her students, but she leaves her account open so any student can take advantage of the info she’s sharing and can get in touch when they need to.
Secret weapon in the classroom
Marilee likes to break out Poll Everywhere in class once in awhile to check students’ understanding in real time. This helps her adjust her teaching methods at exactly the right time.
Proudest teaching moment
Marilee wanted to try something new in her classroom one semester and decided to relinquish some control and move to an inquiry-based model that she thought might benefit her students. At the end of the semester she surveyed the class to find out what they thought. One student replied “I actually learned in this math class…this is the first time since 7th grade I’ve felt confident about math.”
Biggest frustration about higher education today
There tends to be too much focus on completion for completion’s sake. She’d like to help students—and educators—understand that, yes, goals are important when it comes to learning, but also recognize that higher education is about helping students learn how to think and giving them the right tools to deal with any situation life throws at them.
How does she respond to “learning makes us”?
She wants people to embrace the journey of learning and enjoy the ride, rather than worrying too much about the destination.