It’s true. I said I refused to start a math blog because what in the world do I have to contribute to the world of math bloggers. There are so many amazing teachers out there whose blogs I rely on and enjoy reading. Many of them told me that blogging isn’t for the public, it’s for reflection for yourself. Ok. Fine. I’m still not sure if I buy that or even if I’ll go public with this. I used to blog just for fun (not math related), but it got to be too much, so we shall see.
Tomorrow I am headed to Oklahoma for the first time. I believe it’s my 28th state to visit and one I was pretty sure that I would never go to unless it was to hang out with gymnast Shannon Miller circa 1992. So why am I going? Math Camp. Yep.
A while back – can’t even tell you when that was – I stumbled into this land of the #MTBoS. I’m still not sure I really “get it,” but landing within that realm has changed me as a teacher. I hang around on twitter snooping on people’s conversations and constantly hoping to learn something from them. I read blogs and feel totally inadequate as I wonder where and how all these people learned to be so amazing. At some point I kept seeing references to TMC (Twitter Math Camp) and it seemed like the most fun ever. But I could never be part of that because I’m not a joiner. Last year I once again read people talking about it and wished I could go, but my mom and I were going on a cruise at the same time. When talk began again this year, I knew I really wanted to go, but wasn’t sure. I’m introverted by nature and have anxiety about situations that are unfamiliar. So I went back and forth about registering and on the morning that registration opened something crazy happened.
I decided to say what the hell. This is not me. You could say I was bullied, but in the very nicest sort of way. Someone I had never met basically said I had 3 hours to sort out travel and if I wasn’t registered by that point she’d find me and beat me down. All of a sudden all these people came out of the woodworks to say they had felt the same way when they went the previous year or that they were feeling the same way about going this year. So I took the bullying and signed up. Immediately I was super excited. My new bully, I mean friend, sent me her phone number (yes, to a complete stranger) and told me to call her when I got to another conference in April. Um… like that was going to happen.
Finally April came along and I headed to NOLA for the NCTM annual conference. My new friend was going to be there and I hoped maybe I’d meet her so I had a familiar face when I got to TMC. Well, not only did we meet, but she took me under her wing (awkward since I’m way taller 😉 ). She introduced me to amazing people and let me follow her around like a little puppy dog. I had a blast at the conference and a great deal of that was because I started to feel part of a community.
So now. TMC is tomorrow. My excitement is mixed with a huge amount of anxiety. I know that everyone I meet is going to be amazing. I know that this will be a life changing weekend. But still, I have that nagging feeling of being the loser in the corner (and considering I was at a wedding just this weekend where that was ABSOLUTELY the case…). I know that a lot of my new friends to be feel the same way I do. The dumb thing is that I worry about stupid things like, well who will I eat with and that I’m probably the least smart person there (and I’m pretty smart, so…). I guess part of this is because I was never really the “new kid.” I went to one school k-8, one for hs where I was in a class of 72 girls and was friendly with everyone, and one college for undergrad and grad where my specific major had about 20 people in it. So ya. Not used to being a newbie or “outsider.” Small talk and striking up conversations are not things on my list of strengths. There’s a quote or phrase that comes to mind which is, “there are no strangers here, only friends we haven’t met.” I know that will be the case at TMC and frankly I just need to get over it.
But before I have time for an anxiety attack, I better go pack…