August 15, 2017

What You Can Do for NCTM

So I convinced you yesterday that NCTM is worth paying attention to. Now what? In order for NCTM to continue it needs members, active members. My first three suggestions support NCTM at a basic level and you get something out of those steps too. The next three ideas involve a bit more work but are still quite manageable with a full time job.

1) Join
2) Vote
3) Share
4) Review/Referee
5) Write
6) Volunteer

1) You'll need to be a member of NCTM to do almost all of these other things (except #5 and parts of #3). Right now you can save 20 dollars on membership by using the code "BTS20" before you pay. Membership to my affiliate only costs $20 so go ahead and spend the money you save to join your affiliate too! If your budget doesn't allow for you to join there are some options. First, ask your school. Share some of the reasons in my last post and promise to share with the rest of the department. If that doesn't work, tiered membership is coming in January which will be more affordable. You could also join just your affiliate for now. Bonus of joining your affiliate - they're asked to volunteer at regional and national conferences in that state.

2) Now that you're a member you get voting rights as well as all the other stuff. You have to be a member by August 31 to vote this year. Check out the candidate list and then start researching and campaigning to be sure NCTM is heading in the direction you want.

3) Make good use of all the resources you're paying for as well as the free ones. Remember all that stuff I shared? Go use it! Then, talk about it. Tell your colleagues about the good stuff. Ask questions (on twitter or eventually on the forums) about how to adapt something to fit your students. Discuss articles and books in twitter chats or webinars. The best advertising isn't the targeted advertising that creepily follows you to different websites (although NCTM got a non-profit grant from google which doubled their advertising budget so that's coming soon) but word of mouth. Talk about the resources and more people will want to join this cool organization! Also, you know how I said it was easier to google stuff than search on NCTM's website? They pay for every click on that ad above the results so skip down to the top result and click there instead to save them a few cents.

4) Part of what makes NCTM's journals great is that they are peer reviewed (we call these referees). You could be that peer! There are some clear guidelines and the editors I met were both great people who will help you out if you need it. Plus there's a multi-step process with multiple referees reporting to a panel member so you're definitely not on your own to make decisions. We are going to start choosing among the reliable journal referees to help with editing manuscripts on the book end of the publishing committee so if you get your reviews in on time you might get rewarded with the opportunity to do even more work! Seriously though, the opportunity to read articles and books as well as hone your writing skills is a valuable one if it interests you. Sign up!

5) What we need even more than referees is writers. At the publishing committee meeting the journal editors shared that they used to start their day by reviewing all of the submissions they received in the past twenty-four hours. Now they start their day by crossing their fingers they will find any submissions. Monday is their favorite day of the week since most people submit over the weekend. They are barely getting enough submissions to fill the reduced number of issues this year. A journal article isn't so very different from a blog post. Perhaps you could take one of your more popular old posts and refresh it with new ideas from this year (including getting high quality photos of student work if applicable). Or you could turn you most recent presentation into an article. You already did all the research and organization, why not give your work a broader audience? NCTM provides details on how to submit.

6) There are a few more opportunities to volunteer but if you've ever wondered how to get more involved with NCTM I'm going to be blunt - you have to know somebody. This is my biggest criticism of the organization and I will continue making it clear that this is not an acceptable method of running an organization. First of all, you won't get diversity of anything (thought, perspective, experience, ambition) if you only invite people in your circle to work with you. But also, people have a lot of responsibilities. If you ask your committee members to do their committee work and also review session proposals and seed the forums and edit materials and and and... I'm they're going to quit. There's a reason my new year's resolution was "just say no." When I declined to review proposals I did so with a pointed email saying there are tens of thousands of members, I'm sure someone would be thrilled to volunteer for such a task if only they were given the opportunity to volunteer. So when I showed up to NCTM headquarters Peg helped me corner David Barnes and we discussed that the current volunteer form is just for committees. But committees are a three year commitment so they really can't take in an entirely unknown entity for a major position. David said if we (this 'we' includes you, dear reader) can come up with more volunteer opportunities he would get the form changed to include other ideas. So, how could you imagine contributing? What would you like to do for or with NCTM? What should be added to the form?

p.s. NCTM has an Amazon Smile account. You can donate while you shop!

1 comment:

  1. Another helpful post!

    Even though I write a lot, here's why I haven't (yet) written for the journals.

    (a) Because the journals only publish pieces that represent the principles/standards of NCTM, I fear that I'll write something that will get rejected for being too "out there" (even though I'm not really so far out there, I don't think).

    (b) No big deal, right? If it gets rejected, I'll just publish it on my blog. Except that it seems as if the journals publish pieces that only fit a fairly narrow STYLISTIC type. It feels that if I want to write something for NCTM I need to include citations, avoid "I" statements, write it like a university paper or in the detached tone of a research piece. I don't know if this perception is wrong, but it keeps me from simply writing stuff and submitting it.

    Given these dual issues, here's what I think could help me submit more writing to the journals:

    1. If an editor reached out to me and said, "Hey, this blog post is great. Let's expand it into an NCTM piece" I would always say yes.

    2. If I could reach out to an editor and say, "Hey, I have an idea for a NCTM piece. Would the journal be interested in this?" If the editor was interested, I would always write it.

    For the first time recently, an NCTM editor reached out to me, which was wonderful! I wrote back with some suggestions of things that I could write, but haven't heard back yet. I'm hoping that I hear back so I can put something publishable together.