I attended sessions during every one of the 5 time slots and I voted with my feet on 4 of them. Either the presentation wasn't what I was expecting based on the title/description, or... how to put this diplomatically--the presenter could have had better content.
We put out a call on Twitter for people at the conference associated with the #MTBoS to meet for lunch. Three people. Three. When similar calls go out at other conferences I attend, there are rooms full of people stoked to meet each other in the flesh. Maybe people were just busy?
I don't know whether this is the norm or not for math conferences. This is my first one in quite some time. I do know that for the last 8 years, I taught with brilliant math teachers who bent over backwards to be the best teachers they knew how to be. I know that the math teachers I meet on blogs and Twitter are incredible people whose classrooms I would love to visit. I'm constantly provoked to be a better teacher by the people I interact with. This disparity between my experiences within the math community convinces me that we can do better Colorado. Whether or not the state funds education, we can do better than this.
In part, I'm to blame. I saw the request for presenters but ignored it.
I didn't think I had anything to contribute. I don't utilize awesome technology in my classroom. I don't flip my classroom--or ever intend to. My kids don't have one-to-one computers--we still use an ancient classroom set of TI-84s rather than TI-Nspires. I've never written for NCTM or any math journal for that matter. The list can go on for quite awhile. I probably could make a whole blog post about how I think other people are more innovative than I am in the classroom.
Plus, my school agreed to pay for the conference. I know right? Full conference cost and a sub for the day. Why would I want to spend 10-15 hours developing a presentation I feel self-conscious about in exchange for free admission when someone else already offered to pay my way?
After attending this conference, I know why. If we don't share our personal successes with the community, the entire community suffers. I realize I do have something to contribute to my state's math community. I may not be the most innovative teacher but I have something I can share from my classroom experience. I do applications of concepts well. I do experiments well. It's time to invest in my local professional organization and start getting a presentation proposal ready for next year.
I'm thinking: "Hacking Science Into Math Class."