But this year, there are a few things that really struck me...
In one of the most powerful posts I've read in a while, Morgan Kent really lays it all out there and it really is a raw, emotional post that spoke to me deeply. I know what Morgan is saying. When I first arrived at TMC12 in St. Louis, I remember being just star struck by those around me. These were people that I had read their blogs and chatted with on twitter, and now they were standing in front of me and I was tongue-tied. As an introvert, I really kept to myself that first year because I was truly afraid that once people got to know me, they wouldn't like me. That fear of being inadequate kept me from forming deeper relationships with some of the most amazing math teachers I know. Through my blog and twitter, people get a glimpse of my life, but only what I let them see. I don't really post a lot of personal stuff on here about my family or my school because I like the anonymity. My twitter ID doesn't have my name, location, or a photo of me for the same reason. I like privacy and I like controlling what I allow others to see. But, like Morgan said, I am a liar. I don't allow people to see the lessons that bombed, the days where I'm a total jerk, or my deepest fears and highest hopes for my classroom and my life. It's so easy to look around and read about the amazing things that others are doing and I forget that, like me, those other people are just allowing me to see what they want me to see.
What makes TMC special?
One of the questions that has popped up on twitter, post-TMC14 is about what makes TMC so special. For me, I think it comes down to a few things...
- The people - these are people that WANT to be there... TMC originally started because a group of us were dissatisfied with the status quo of traditional PD. Through twitter and blogs, we found a group of kindred spirits - people that were passionate about teaching and learning math. People that didn't look at you crazy if you talked about the best way to teach (insert topic here) ALL NIGHT LONG. People that developed a community that truly cared about each other, born out of a love of teaching math. The PEOPLE are what makes TMC special
- The conversations - I've been to a lot of math conferences over my 16 years of teaching, but I've never been to one where math is literally being discussed 24/7. These conversations happened at breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight in the lounge, and every moment in between. Once a person retires for the night, the conversation continues via twitter... this is unheard of for any conference I've ever been to.
- The structure - TMC is a total grassroots conference. TMC only exists because YOU want it to exist. I have talked to so many people in my district over the past few weeks that are simply in awe of what we have and they cannot believe that this exists purely because teachers like you and me wanted it to exist.
- The passion - When I left TMC12, I flew directly to an AVID conference. The teachers that I met up with from my school are pretty used to me being a total nerd, but I was so wired after TMC12 that they literally asked me if I was high. Today, as I walked around campus delivering Thank You notes, I noticed that same "buzz" as people asked me how it went. The passion that is present at TMC is tangible. You'll notice on twitter/blogs that so many people mention how they felt overwhelmed and bombarded by the awesomeness that is TMC. This electric atmosphere is unlike anything I've ever experienced.
A simple Thank You feels like such a lousy way to express what I want to say to each of you. Thank you for making TMC14 special and thank you for being you.
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!
Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual
Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)