Dr. Daniel Miltner, a professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Mathematics at University of Illinois at Chicago, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.
I did not have Professor Miltner as a lead teacher of any of my classes. However, I did have the opportunity to work with him in preparation for my TAP test a few years ago. I always had a difficult time with math and had previously taken the TAP test, passing every section but math. Before I had a few tutoring sessions with Professor Miltner, I failed the math portion 2 times. Needless to say, I was very discouraged.
Going into these tutoring sessions, I was nervous because, if anyone can relate to having struggles with math, not understanding math concepts can easily make you feel stupid. I finally bit the bullet and made the commitment to seek help.
Prior to the sessions and meeting Professor Miltner, I emailed him asking for extra help and he emailed me a list of resources. A LIST of things to look over before we discussed them in the tutoring session. I could tell he was more than willing to help.
I found out that there was an entire group of students that were attending these tutoring sessions and he sought out to help each and every one. We were all in it together. We were all struggling with math and needed to pass the TAP test. He focused on the math problems we all struggled with, highlighting key concepts and easy ways to solve the problems.
Unfortunately, I didn’t pass the math portion of the TAP immediately after that. I emailed him again and he sent me another list of resources to look into, including a reminder of the work we did together.
I finally passed the TAP test last year and I couldn’t have done it without him.
As quoted from the Dean’s office: “As a faculty member, colleague, and friend, Dr. Miltner excelled in three noteworthy ways. He demonstrated the capacity for excellent mathematics teaching and the commitment to the growth and development of aspiring teachers, particularly aspiring teachers who may have been under-prepared in mathematics, but wanted to teach in the Chicago Public Schools. Dan, a dedicated and competent teacher who embraced students’ full humanity, consistently received the highest student ratings. He won the university’s Silver Circle Award for Teaching twice. Second, Dan made clear contributions to the College of Education by serving diligently and thoughtfully on committees inside and outside of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Third, Dan applied research standards of quality in the field of mathematics education as he explored research on best practices in teacher education to promote and advance the practical consequences of the research. Without equivocation, Dan was a strong advocate for strong mathematics instruction.”-Maria Makkawi
I had no idea he passed away until I received an email from the department with information about grief counseling. “I pass his office everyday I’m at school,” I thought. Even though I did not know him well, his loss saddened my heart.
Last Wednesday, I took a walk past his office as I usually do and what I saw was amazing…an out pour of appreciation and love on post-its all over his office door. It showed just how many students and colleagues lives he touched. Things like “Thanks for showing us your human side,” “I know you are smiling wherever you are. Thank you for everything!,” and “Professor Miltner, you are the definition of passion. Rest in peace.”
I didn’t leave a post-it in that moment because I could not find the right words. I was inspired by all of the things I read and needed time to process what I wanted to say. Here is my post-it.