I often tell my students that collectively we are smarter than we are by ourselves. I really felt this when I was at the NCTM Conference in San Diego, in April 2019.
I started this blog post after returning from the conference and never finished it. It’s now been over a year since I attended this conference, and I’d like to share how it’s impacted me since. And how this idea of Power in Numbers is also going to be important during the 20-21 school year.
Attending the NCTM Conference has been on my bucket list of things I’d like to do since I first started teaching. However, it’s rarely near me, and I’m a fearful flyer, and it’s expensive, for many years our school would only cover so much for us to attend CMC in Palm Springs, and well, I’m an hour away from the CMCSOUTH Conference in Palm Springs. CMCSOUTH is an amazing math conference and every year its an hour away. I can attend without booking a hotel room, although the only year I’ve done that was after maternity leave.
So when we saw that NCTM was coming to San Diego, we started pestering our admin and even applied to speak. My session, A Journey from Rows to Groups, was accepted and as a secondary TOSA, my district helped cover the cost of the hotel and food and registration.
Attending NCTM was an amazing experience.
Here’s a link for the top retweets using the conference hashtag, #NCTMSD2019, compiled by Dan Meyer.
My colleague, Patricia Vandenberg, who was also going as a speaker, and I were so excited to attend and experience everything. We even registered for sunrise yoga on the first day.
My husband. “You are not a morning person and you don’t work out.”
Me. “You’ve obviously never met math conference Claire. And they give you a yoga mat that says I love math!”
Every session I attended was energizing. The conversations I was apart of and those I overheard between sessions as people were rushing to the next session or lingering in the exhibit hall were full of purpose and ideas and life.
One thing that struck me was the scale of everything. The San Diego Convention Center is huge. And there were math educators from all over the world. And through social media, there were thousands of teachers all over the world who were not at the conference who got to be apart of the conversation, too.
And then, Dr Talithia Williams, a statistician at Harvey Mudd, and author of “Power in Numbers: the Rebel Women of Mathematics” presented a powerful closing address.
I left that conference with an overwhelming feeling that we, the community of math educators, have a power in Numbers.
It’s been over a year since that conference. As a group, we face a challenge that seems impossible this school year. How do we care for our students in the midst of a worldwide pandemic? How do we keep them safe? How do we protect their right to an education? A right we often take for granted in our first world nation. How do we pass on the beauty and joy and wonder within mathematics to the next generation? And do it over zoom? How do we help heal the pain and fear many of our students face over health and jobs and politics and unrest that’s all over the news?
I think the answer is that we work together. We are a community of teachers and there’s power in our numbers.
Have a question? Please ask! Have an idea, share it! Someone sharing a difficulty, let’s listen and learn. Need a place to start in the conversation? Search the hashtags and then include them to help engage in the conversation.
I don’t know all the #MTBoS and #iteachmath hashtags, so please share below to help any newcomers. We are all going to need each other to get through the year.