As humans, our complex brains are able to create such detailed visions of the future. We build things up (or down) in our minds that reality can’t possibly compete with. Until we let go of what we believe should happen, we are unable to fully experience the beauty of what actually is.
Proposals for the NCTM Regional Conference here in Minneapolis were due in September of 2014. This means I have had over a year to continue to wind the anxiety yarn into one giant ball of stress. But sweet relief occurred when I released my iron grip on my expectations and began to appreciate the phenomenal power of educators coming together.
First off, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, NCTM, for your support of the MathTwitterBlogosphere at the NCTM conferences. I spent much of my time at the #MTBOS booth in the exhibit hall. Sharing this wonderful, supportive, organic community with other math educators has been as fulfilling as it has been fun.
When asking people in the Exhibit Hall “are you on Twitter?” the most common response was “yes, but I don’t tweet. Think of the student in your class that thinks very deeply, submits very thoughtful work,but doesn’t raise his/her hand in class to volunteer his/her thinking. I’d hope that most teachers would agree that these students are still valuable members of the classroom community. It works the same with the online edu-community. Plus, I’d venture to guess that many people who actively tweet with other math educators started by diving down the rabbit hole of math blogs.
An hour later, Carl Oliver and I spoke on statistics, social justice, and how to have safe, productive conversations with students around the issue of race and equity. Here is the link to the slides. The discussion centered around these data sets:
I really enjoyed giving our presentation and a lot of great discussion ensued. But ultimately, I’m thankful to the MathTwitterBlogosphere for being the catalyst of the great discussion we get to take part in, day in and day out. I had never met Carl Oliver in person before Wednesday. But the powerful connections we (all of us) have made with one another, make it possible for an algebra teacher in New York and a stats teacher in Minnesota to get together and share their passions with fellow educators. It allowed a teacher in Massachusetts to spread the fire she started in Boston on to Atlantic City, Minneapolis, and Nashville. And that fire is continually kindled as we welcome, share, engage, and support over and over and over again. Thank you, #MTBoS for being the genuine, authentic community that has naturally produced so much awesome for so many teachers.