Friday, July 31, 2015

#TMC15 Reflections of a Social Introvert Part 2

So, I had lunch plans on day two...  If you missed day one, that may not make much sense.

It's been six days since I left #tmc15, the first day of school and the first week of school have come and gone...  I missed the first two professional development days and classroom prep time before school started to attend TMC and I cannot stop talking about my experience.  I kind of feel bad, but our district just got a new math coach and she made the mistake of coming into my room after school the other day to introduce herself.  While socially I may feel a bit uncomfortable, when I start to talk about TMC or MTBoS watch out.  After close to an hour she had almost a page of notes, some ideas of people to follow, examples of chats to take part in and blogs to read.  I think she may have left a bit overwhelmed.  And now I find a Blog about MTBoS by @crstn85 via @mathymeg07.  Time to inundate the math coach...

Ok, back to TMC15...

Day 2 and Day 3...

Any hesitations I had during day 1 were gone days 2 and 3.  Life as an introvert...  Put yourself out there and you realize it wasn't that big of a deal to start with.  I had some excellent conversations with Michael Fenton and JJ Martinez during our Desmos morning sessions, learned some intriguing mental math strategies and killed Barbie by having having too many rubber bands for her 50 foot bungee.  The sessions were excellent!!!  I LOVED the 2 hours of the same session for all three days.  It gave me an opportunity to learn some basics, delve a bit deeper the second and then an opportunity to create on the third.  All the while having experts scattered about the room to bounce ideas off of, to get assistance from and once again as ongoing resources once the session is over...

As a newer twitter user people give you some specific people to follow and you begin to see the incredible things they do, things they create and that they SHARE it ALL.  They kind of become rock stars or like elite professional athletes of the math world.  Meeting them makes your heart beat a bit faster and you stumble over your words.  The night I will remember was the BBQ.  I sat down at a table with some of the people from my morning session, never got up until the evening was over and by the time the evening was over every one of the rock stars I was following joined our group at one point in time or another for conversations.  The knowledge, the experience, the desire to better our craft was evident in all of them and evident in all that attended.

Prior to TMC I was much more of a twitter voyeur.  Aside from Monday night #msmathchat I didn't really post.  I entered a couple of conversations and asked a couple of questions (and got quick replys), but that was about it.  I was following people and didn't really make connections.  Now, I feel like I have a core group of go to people and the comfort to put myself out there to both ask for resources and share some new resources.

Upon my return I was asked by my new principal and some fellow teachers how the conference was.  To be honest I have a very difficult time calling it a conference.  It was WAY more than that.  I have been telling people it was the best EXPERIENCE of my career.  A conference you attend sessions, TMC you build relationships and resources to better your craft.

Would I like to attend TMC16?  The short answer to that is ABSOLUTELY.  This experience has motivated my teaching, pushes me in the classroom and has inspired my education of fellow teachers.  I also have to take up Fawn Nguyen from her comment on part one of my TMC reflection for drinks.

Friday, July 24, 2015

#TMC15 Reflections of a Social Introvert Part 1

So day 1 of #TMC15 was incredible.  The topics covered were exceptional, the speakers were excellent, the organization was impecible and it was also personally challenging.  As a teaching professional at my new school where I have been for one year I am a confident person who people come to when they have questions, I am a maker of change within, I push people to go further, I train and, oh ya, I also do my job... which is doing whatever it takes to find ways for my students to learn.  But... I can’t say, “Hey, can I join you for lunch?” to a bunch of teachers I had just been sitting with for two hours in a morning session.  It may sound stupid, but it’s hard... being a social introvert at an conference that, by design, has a social purpose (which it absolutely should).
OK, lets go back to yesterday…

Day 0 I forced myself to go to the Wednesday night social.  I almost didn’t go… I’m not staying at the hotel, so it was more than just walking downstairs.  I drove around the parking lot a couple times to find a place to park, walked into the building and then walked into the Maple Room where the social was being held.  There were three tables of people all focused on what they were doing, so…..I walked out.  Went down the hall, saw the baseball players eating their dinner and told myself to go back in.  I did, then walked out again.  This time I found the bathroom, it was near the end of the hall if you missed it.  Ok, third times a charm right???  I had a plan this time…. Go get a beer and you will at least look like you are in the right place and maybe there will be someone in line you can talk to.  So I did and Glenn thank you for needing a beer too.  Someone to talk to and someone to introduce me to others and things started to roll.  I had a good time, I met some wonderful people, I stuck around for nearly 3 hours and then I was off.  Back to my trailer for a good night’s sleep.  Damit, I forgot my pillow!!!

I read somewhere, and I apologize I forgot who blogged it (I don’t have internet connection as I write this), that when coming to #TMC15 I should have a goal in mind.  Of course learning new this and that or how to do that and this better will obviously be on the agenda, but my goal was/is to meet and build resources.  Yes I pull lessons from @mr_stadel, @robertkaplinsky, @ddmeyer, @Jstevens009 and @fawnpnguyen to name a few, I have even had some breif twitter corresondence with some of them, but meeting people who want to move the education of our kids forward, creating that introduction and hopefully open a working dialog is what I view as mhy biggest goal of Twitter Math Camp.

So, social introvert goal for day 2…  Have plans with people for lunch before leaving campus.  Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem being by myself, I often prefer it, but you can’t build relationships with people by yourself.

So what am I trying to say.  Partially it is a pep talk for myself for tomorrow, partially it is for anyone else who relates to this and partially for anyone who may read this about 8 months from now that are considering going to #TMC16.  Make your goal(s) and definitely GO!!!  It is a rare opportunity you get to be in the same room with so many rock star teachers, but being able to build connections with them that could possibly span your career is what it is all about.  Everyone is here to help better the education of our kids, no one is being forced and there are a couple hundred people who are taking time out of their summer to learn.