Seventh Grade Math Teacher Joel Bezaire earns 2019 Desmos Teaching Fellowship.
By Juanita I.C. Traughber, Communications Director
The company that operates a free online graphing calculator has awarded Seventh Grade Math Teacher Joel Bezaire a Desmos Teaching Fellowship. Bezaire was selected as one of 40 fellows from more than 600 applications. He traveled to Desmos’ headquarters in San Francisco this summer to learn about the intersection of math, teaching, and technology alongside other teachers from throughout the United States and Canada.
Desmos Head of Community Shelley Carranza said the organization selected Bezaire because of his strong opinions, communication skills, and capacity for supporting diverse learners.
“At Desmos, we love to learn with people who express strong ideas and convictions about issues that matter to us. This year's cohort included people who wrote clearly and convincingly about the role of technology in math education, about technology's tendency to help and harm students, and about the urgency of cultivating beliefs, pedagogies, and technologies that humanize mathematics and include students who have been historically excluded from participation and achievement in math class. Joel demonstrated passion for these issues and humility about the limits of his own ideas,” she wrote.
Bezaire, who joined University School of Nashville in 2002, teaches pre-algebra and coaches baseball. He was awarded the inaugural Bovender Family Faculty Chair for "modeling the best in innovative teaching practices and thorough involvement in the life of the school" and held the seat from 2014 to 2017. He has helped teachers across the country develop mathematics curriculum to solve the mystery in the novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” with their students.
While at the fellowship in July, he collaborated with a number of Fellows and Desmos Teaching Faculty on an activity that introduces the mathematical concept of Voronoi Diagrams through the social justice/equity lens of Food Deserts. Bezaire said he plans to use that activity later on this semester in his new statistics elective class for Middle Schoolers.
Through the fellowship, Bezaire receives mentorship, early access to Desmos’ ideas and technology, and participates in weekly online chats with like-minded math faculty.
Vanderbilt Assistant Professor Patrick J. Schuermann spoke to students inducted into the Cum Laude Society, which recognizes members of the graduating class who have distinguished themselves for academic excellence.