Longtime friend and colleague Talei Kunkel asked Fatima Remtulla if she’d be interested in working on MYP Mathematics 3, since the two have learned how to maximize each other's strengths after 10 years of working together.
Since Remtulla is interested in challenges and broadening her horizons, and had never written a book before, she accepted the offer.
“It's an unusual goal in my professional career, but now I can say I've done it,” says Remtulla, who has degrees from McMaster University, Queen’s University and University of Toronto. “It's a great feeling for others to know that you know your stuff and that, when you advise them, what you say has worth.”
Kunkel and David Weber, who’ve written several textbooks, offered direction to Remtulla. Rose Harrison was the fourth co-author of the 408-page textbook, which was published by Oxford University Press in November.
“I was a co-author on a few of the chapters, but also a proofreader and comment provider on content, look, online resources, web links, et cetera,” says Remtulla, who joined UCC’s faculty in 2013.
Remtulla spent time during evenings, weekends and school breaks doing her part. She says it took about a year-and-a-half to get the textbook into the hands of teachers and students.
The textbook is matched to the revised International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP) to support student achievement. It’s already a resource in UCC’s math department and is expected to be used in the College’s Year 8 math classes during the next school year.
“Writing a textbook isn't easy,” says Remtulla, who’s also a Howard’s senior house adviser, Blues TV administrator and rowing travel coach at UCC. “In fact, it's very challenging.
“I had the perception that when collaborating with great individuals that you sit in a big room with chalkboard-covered walls, papers and books lying on tables so that you can hammer out the book. But it is a lot more solitary than you think. Not only do people live in different parts of the city, or even the world, but life schedules and circumstances make it difficult to meet for that purpose. So you work and confer with others via email or phone, and share ideas that way.
“The other challenge is making sure there is authentic connection that teachers and students from around the world can find value in and that the key concepts, related concepts and global context make sense and form a good statement of inquiry. One of the goals of the book was to help MYP teachers learn how to tie all of these aspects together to make their unit planners.”