To adequately describe TMC 15, I need to start from the beginning. I went to TMC 13
with two of my coworkers. I'm shy (at first, get to know me and watch out), so I pretty much stuck to them the whole time. I met very few new people. TMC 14
was pretty much the same song, second verse only now there were 4 of my coworkers with me. I felt like an outsider looking in. There was always this fear that I wasn't good enough/smart enough/cool enough to talk to these great math teachers. It was like being in 9th grade again when all my junior high friends went to the other high school and all the other kids already knew each other. I didn't know how to break that barrier, and in this case I didn't have to because I had a safety net of my best friends and coworkers with me.
The other thing that held me back a little was having conversations over Twitter with people that I don't actually know. It's weird. I've only ever talked to people online that I have met before. Trying to talk to strangers about things that are close to my heart is SO HARD. I have a great local community so I didn't need to push myself outside of my comfort zone to have a MTBoS
community, so I didn't.
Fast forward to this year. It started with Casey picking me up at the airport. I had only talked with her for two and half months on Twitter because we were planning a trip to Disneyland with Heather, Meg, and Nicole. She walks up to me at the airport and my awkward self says, "This is weird, right?" This girl could be an axe murderer?! (She's not. She loves Disney. All is well.) It turns out that I needed an afternoon of giving Casey incomplete directions and taking the long way to places, 16 hours at Disneyland with 4 fantastic ladies, and a taping of The Price is Right with a bunch of math teachers to make me comfortable enough to talk math and teaching with people I hardly know.
My Pre-TMC party opened so many doors because I met new people who introduced me to even more new people. For the first time, I felt like I belong in the MTBoS community. I felt like I had things to contribute, and I wasn't just a lurker on the outside. I am smart enough to interact with these people because hey guess what, they are normal people too. DUH.
Ok enough Pre-TMC. The conference started and I had nothing but excitement. I knew from previous experiences that I was going to learn tons of great things, be inspired and invigorated to actually start working on my giant August to do list, and challenged to try new things in my classroom to enhance my kids' math education. I honestly enjoyed and learned something new in every single session.
This community is inspiring. Hearing the history of what I am walking into and joining is encouraging. Hearing other people's struggles, plans, and successes is necessary and important for my growth as an educator. Knowing that I am not alone when I so often feel that way is crucial to thriving in my classroom, not just surviving. I am grateful to know these people, learn from them, be inspired by them, and have fun with them.
It's about the community, stupid. -Lisa Henry
She speaks the truth.
There will be another post about what sessions I went to and more specific things I learned and want to implement this school year. Stay tuned. :)
Also pictures because it's me...
|I hopped off the plane at... (that's a lie, but I don't care.)|
|How could anyone be sad?|
|I-10...a very long way from home|
|This was my room at Disneyland. I teared up a little. Too much excitement.|
|You do NOT waste time at Disney. Plan of attack.|
|These are my people.|
|Secret Minnie meeting|
|Finding Nemo submarine ride|
|Heather and I waited over an hour. Totally worth it.|
|Heather and I got better the second time.|
|Come on down...except none of us got to.|
|But we had fun anyway!|
The boys really like big glasses. I don't get it either.
|mostly we dislike each other. (side note: good hair day)|
|New best friend|