Now that I have mostly recovered from the complete awesomeness that was TMC14 I thought I would do a couple posts about my experience.
First of all, I was honestly slightly terrified about going. I thought I would be the only relative "newbie" and would feel like a total outsider. Instead, from the time I arrived it was like being welcomed in to this fabulous, quirky family.
I came away with a few major things:
1) There are people like me! This was something I heard over and over and repeatedly reminded me of the quote:" Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself.." CS Lewis. To be surrounded by other people just as passionate about math and teach was, to say the least, incredible. After feeling like the "weird" one at various meetings and schools, it was so sweet to be with people who understood that part of me and didn't have to feel ashamed for my passions...Which leads to my second revelation...
2) I should stop apologizing for who I am. I would like to thank Edmund Harris for a stimulating discussion over lunch one day. I was talking about how I feel like I really hold back my passion for math/teaching, especially among my lower students who are probably the ones who need to see that the most. He reflected that I shouldn't be ashamed. In fact (please imagine a fabulous British accent here)..."if you were a literature professor - teacher - you wouldn't apologize about going home and reading Dickens or Austen - even if it wasn't for your curriculum". Seriously! This was such a light bulb moment for me. It is ok, no it is great, that I am passionate and love what I do - I don't need to hide that or try to pass it off as being weird.
3) I have something unique to contribute. There have been a lot of talks about inadequacy after and during the conference. I think for me I realized that there were things about my personality/teaching that people were curious about and I could share. Maybe it is my rough start with teaching my first year and feeling like my ideas weren't supported locally, but now I see that there is a great group of teachers who want to learn from each other and I can be part of that.
4) I have new friends. Now these blogs I follow aren't blogs, they are people with names and faces and great personalities. There is such a difference now reading the same blogs knowing the lovely people behind it!
And as I watch Les Mis right now...let's say "Another story must begin"
Here's to a fabulous new school year, dear friends!