Potpourri – Things I Learned at Pioneer VI (Thursday 11/4/09)

November 4, 2009 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

Note – This is the first in a series of Potpourri articles that will appear each Thursday. Some typical topics include Success stories, Q & A, Things I’ve Learned, Guest Blog Posts, …

I was lucky enough to be invited to Pioneer VI in Bowling Green, Kentucky to give the keynote address. Pioneer is the Super Bowl of MyMathLab regional meetings. Since this was the 6th annual meeting, I’ve decided to post 6 things I learned at Pioneer.

1 – I learned that …

the instructors from Kentucky, as well as a few from neighboring states, were outstanding. It was refreshing to be among a group of people truly dedicated to giving their students the best possible education. I felt completely recharged and inspired when I left, and I hope to be back with them all someday. I’d like to think that I’d fit right in as an instructor there.

2 – I learned that …

there is little to no difference between developmental students in California and developmental students in Kentucky. They need our help, our guidance, and our inspiration. Students come to us with weak math backgrounds, but unfortunately their study skills are even worse. We must teach them how to learn before they can actually learn mathematics.

3 – I learned that …

there are so many of us who understand that making a difference in the life of just one student is the greatest reward we can ever receive. When John Squires became choked up while relaying the story of a student who had failed basic math 4 times (or was it basic math that had indeed failed her?), I knew we were kindred spirits. It was refreshing to look around the room and see so many people nodding their heads in approval.

I used to teach a lot of higher end courses, but I choose to work with developmental students because I can make a tangible difference in the lives of my students.

4 – I learned that …

even after using MyMathLab for 10 years, I can still pick up some new tricks. Whether it was using MML homework strictly as a prerequisite for in-class quizzes or MML quizzes (HW is 0% of the grade), or offering students incentives to voluntarily take (and retake) practice tests, there were a slew of great ideas that I picked up.

5 – I learned that …

the Pearson people work so closely with their instructors, and are just as interested in the success of their students. I suppose I didn’t really learn that, I’ve seen it all over the country. I suppose it was reaffirmed.

6 – I learned that …

I look pretty good in a coonskin cap. Once you attend Pioneer, you’ll understand this one.


Thanks to Otis, Irene, Diane, Becky, Julia, Lauren, Chris, Lance, Tom, & everyone else who made this meeting so fantastic!


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. If there are topics you’d like me to address in future Potpourri articles, send in your requests through the contact page on my web site. Be sure to check out next Thursday’s article.  – George


Entry filed under: MyMathLab, Potpourri. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

General Teaching – Understanding Confidence Intervals in Statistics (Wednesday 11/4/09) Recreational Math – Canadian Blackjack (Friday 11/5/09)

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