Twitter Math Camp Growing Pains

At a session during Twitter Math Camp 2014 Levi mentioned that he was impressed with the speed at which change and growth occurs within the MTBOS compared to NCTM members or other teachers in general. The reason we learn new skills and grow as teachers is a result of the format of constant reflection, feedback and collaboration. Our growth is occurring at a faster rate then other teachers. It’s like trying to go from walking to jumping on a fast moving walkway. You may get knocked on your ass a bit in the transition.

When I do inservice PD, I know the pace is delicate. You need to open eyes, but many good hearted people can feel a shock of inadequacy.

The feeling of the pace depends on where you currently are in teaching. If you’ve considered many topics prior to TMC (PrBL, facilitating group work , geogebra, foldables & INB’s, curriculum development, formative assessment, etc) then you are ready to jump into an intense session on implementation. If you haven’t heard of these things before, it is too much & you can’t imagine how to incorporate it into your teaching.


Many of us have been participating, learning and growing, with the MTBOS for many years we are in a different place then someone who is just trying to jump in. For example, there was no talk about standards based grading at this year’s TMC14. This was a really big topic of discussion within this group 2 years ago. We hashed it out, discussed, debated & blogged about it. We each found our way and now many of us use standards based grading, or decided that it doesn’t match our teaching style. We don’t discuss it anymore.

Now more people find us and feel inadequte. Its like starting a math degree by taking  a PhD level class. I don’t like the idea of levels because it implies a hierarchy whose nonexistence is what makes TMC awesome, but there almost needs to be different degrees of TMC sessions:

  • Introductory – What is this and how can I use it?
  • Implementation – What would this look like in my class and how can I incorporate it with what I currently do?
  • Improvement – I’ve been doing this, how do I do it better?


The reason I suggest this is because we are all at different levels depending on the session. It would benefit newcomers to see that none of us are experts in everything by our presence at all levels of sessions. Imagine seeing the guy who blew you away running a Geogebra session sitting next to you at a What-the-heck-is-Standards-Based-Grading session a few hours later.

Maybe this is something we can consider for TMC 15 in order to be able to meet teachers where they are and help everyone move forward without feeling inadequate.


4 thoughts on “Twitter Math Camp Growing Pains

  1. At one point I know there was a serious movement to have an SBG panel at this year’s event. In fact it might have even made the first couple drafts of the program. But somewhere in there it was removed. I think the person behind the proposal wasn’t able to make it, but that may not be correct.

  2. You make some very good points. As a middle school math teacher who double majored in Eled/Spanish and took a grand total of two college math classes (for the elem teacher) I am often lost when HS Ts start talking about trig, stats, calc. I am a very forward thinking teacher, but feel I have had to study and learn everything on my own (via the MTBoS and blogs I follow and the million professional books I choose to read on my own). There has to be a space for the dedicated math teacher who maybe didn’t major or minor in math. I know there are few of us out there at the middle school level, but I am often overwhelmed by the math being discussed. I love being a math teacher, but don’t necessarily love math like some people do. LOL Sorry to ramble on here. It’s something I’ve thought about for awhile but never expressed.

  3. I really like the idea of different degrees of sessions. My only caution is that there is also something awe inspiring about being around people who really know their stuff. I guess I’d be especially interested if it were only on a few of the topics and the differentiated sessions were concurrent.

    Perhaps there could be a driving topic for each afternoon that would be provided this way. Great idea Lisa!

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