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.


  1. Mike, I was a newbie too. Awesome, right? I miss taking and sharing and geeking out about how and why we do what do already, and want to just thinking about it, write about it, digest all day, my poor DH and kids (the dog doesn't complain too much.) You got it so right when you said, "TMC you build relationships and resources to better your craft. Yup, awesome.

  2. First, as someone who did not attend, let me THANK YOU for sharing your Experience at the Conference. I feel energized with ideas even though I did not attend because people who were there were willing to tweet and blog about what they learned.

    Second, as an introvert myself, I was wondering what finally gave you the courage to be more active in the MTBoS conversation? I feel guilty that I am just lurking around, but a little self conscious about what my contribution would be.

    Third, I completely understand your "awe" at the rockstar status of people you've been following online. I am only recently active on Twitter, but started finding math blogs via pinterest and Google searches. I found Dan Meyer through Google and Fawn Nguyen's blog when I took the Stanford "Maths" Online course for teachers and parents the summer it was free. Fawn's visual patterns helped my students tremendously. I found out about TMC through Matt Vaudrey (who I am recently realizing is also of rockstar status) when we were coteaching a 3 day lesson of Barbie Bungee in my classroom. He is just an Ed Tech Coach in my district and I first met him at a Google Training at the beginning of the school year. It was only later, after Spring Break, when I had a question about Google Classroom that I realized he was such a math guy. In that conversation, he reminded me what a great resource Twitter was for finding ideas, signed me up for a 3 day coteaching experience that was awesome, and also convinced me to present DESMO at our District's 2nd annual back-to-school Ed Tech PD. He also casually mentioned Fawn Nguyen's first name in the conversation as in "Fawn and I are presenting Barbie Bungee at this math conference at the Claremont Colleges this summer". First two thoughts were, He's on first name basis with her? And, can I go to this conference? By this point the conference was booked, which is a bummer because I live 10 minutes from Claremont McKenna Colleges and TMC16 is so far away. I started reading more and more online (I have a DESMO presentation and a new school year to prepare for) and started to realize Matt is also a rockstar in the math internet world. I wonder if any other teachers in my district realize this. I tried to explain all this to my department chair because our very traditional, direct instruction dept could use some help and how we have this great online resource actually a real life person who works for our district and is paid to help us. It's hard to explain!!! Ha Ha

    Once again, thanks for sharing your thoughts from TMC15. Wish I'd been at those tables eating BBQ and talking math. Sounds like a fun, summer night!!!

    1. Claire, thank you for your comments. I guess that is part of what blogging is all about. Opening windows for others. Introverts unite....

      You asked about how I got the courage to become more involved and I think it is just taking baby steps. Chats are an easy way to join in a little at a time. I do #msmathchat on Mondays and if the conversation is about something I feel confident about I chime in, if not then I just watch. Then a few replies to other tweets to get your feet wet. This is about the stage I am in. I want to be more involved and after going to TMC I feel like after putting faces to Twitter handles it makes it a little easier.

      If you can make it to TMC16 go for it. Doesn't matter where it is it will definitely be worth your time. We are already talking about a family trip to MN next summer.

      Oh and yes Vaudrey is a rockstar!!!

  3. Mike, I love this post. You're right, it's definitely more of an experience than a conference. Thank you so much for sharing yours!