Last week I attended Twitter Math Camp 2014 in Jenks, Oklahoma. I have so much that I need to process and think about. Later this week I will blog about some of the content that I learned, but today I wanted to focus mainly on my emotional reaction to participating in this conference.
On Thursday morning, in the Group Work Working Group morning session, I introduced myself as a TwitterBlogStalker. I follow about 30 blogs, and occasionally comment. I started a blog in August after learning about #MTBoS from Bob Lochel and have since posted a grand total of 17 times. I very occassionally participate in a twitter math chat. I basically feel as though I have leeched off the MathTwitterBlogoSphere. I’ve gained much from it, but have contributed little. Dan Meyer said that it’s okay to be “Selfish” about how I participate in the MathTwitterBlogoSphere. I do think that I have been selfish, but I feel anything but good about it.
I went into the conference knowing a whole lot about a group of people who know practically nothing about me. That didn’t change much over the course of the week. When I meet people, I am great at getting them to tell me all about themselves and all of their best ideas. I am usually one of the quietest voices at the table. So even though some of my MTBoS idols know my name now, I still know a whole lot more about them than they know about me.
For me it’s not the same anymore, though, because I care about them as people now. I found myself checking Twitter in the airports and even at 12:30 am because I was concerned about whether or not Jamie, Elizabeth, Kelly had made it home okay. On my flight from Fort Worth to Salt Lake City, I was telling the two women I was sitting between about how concerned I was about the storm in Detroit and the lightening in Las Vegas. I cared about them because I knew who they were. I wanted to be on twitter. And when I saw this post reflecting about inadequacies, I wanted to write a blog post to respond to it because I knew that 160 characters wouldn’t be enough. TMC14 has helped me to move out of the realm of TwitterBlogStalking and into the world of participating and contributing.
I laughed at this slide in the My Favorites presentation and I even snapped a picture, but I shrugged off the idea, because it’s not really something I feel comfortable with. But I’m reconsidering it now because of my experience at TMC. By the end of the year, I have a great relationship with my students and we have a lot of fun together, but it takes a while for that to happen because I’m a quiet person on first acquaintance. But I think I need to start brainstorming ways to speed up the process. Because sometimes all it takes being able to see someone as a real person to make a task like blogging or tweeting become less of a chore and more of a pleasure.
Finally, I wanted to take just a moment to respond to this very reflective and honest post about inadequacies. This poem came to my mind like a gift in high school. I have clung to it ever since, especially when I feel small in comparison with those surrounding me.
Pity the mistaken orange tree
who wishes to give apples,
Whose existence is spent becoming
something it never can be.