August 3, 2015

Making Our Global Math Department More Global

I realized at the end of TMC15 that I hadn't gotten any new lesson ideas, because I hadn't gone to any sessions focused on content. As I mulled over that fact I realized it said a lot about where I am as a teacher. I'm not teaching any new preps this year. It will be my sixth year in the same school, ninth year teaching. If you allow me to count student teaching I've been in the classroom for a decade. I attended sessions that made connections, whether they be K to 12, ELL to math, teacher to leader, MTBoS to NCTM... I love teaching, new lesson ideas are always welcome and I can't wait to plan with my co-workers next week and get back to the classroom next month. But these things don't have to be my top priority at a conference because I'm comfortable in my role as educator, my top priority is helping others reach this point - and one way to do it is to expand the reach of our community.

This spring I organized and worked at a booth at NCTM. Once again I didn't attend many content sessions, as I mentioned before. Engaging with people in our community and introducing new people to our plethora of resources was too much of a draw for me to want to leave. I realized that weekend exactly how hard our community is to describe. Sam did a nice job explaining the Evolution of the MTBoS in a recent post. It is precisely because we have so many voices that we are so hard to describe - but by the end of the conference I decided that Global Math Department is the best descriptor. People understand that a department is made up of different teachers with different voices, and if we describe ourselves as the ideal department - one that collaborates and celebrates together - then people have a better chance of beginning to understand who we are before they get scared away by newfangled technology like Twitter. When I get around to writing my letter to a newbie, that's how I will explain what we are. Maybe you have a better metaphor? Sam wants you to share it:

Sam (and Julie and I) also want you to share some thoughts that will be specifically helpful with the new blogger initiation we'll be running in November. What are the MTBoS FAQs? What lingo is confusing? What else should we think about? It might help to peruse the past iterations of this initiative if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

We are running the initiative in November because it will follow the NCTM regional conferences. If you're going to Nashville, Robert is helping to organize that group:

Are going to Nashville in Nov? Please fill out this form to help us figure out if we can run a booth.

If you're going to Atlantic City or Minneapolis (or San Francisco, why not plan ahead!) and have any interest in running a booth, please comment here or tweet at me (I promise we did all the work last year, your role will be pure fun!). If you're not interested in organizing a booth but are presenting at any conference, please consider giving out some sort of info card. This one, modified from the NCTM version, might give you some ideas.

Like Sam, one of the things that I love is this community. Will you help us share it?

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