Months ago, I was following a couple people on Twitter and they started talking about this thing called TMC. I did a simple google search to try and figure out what they were talking about and it led me to discovering Twitter Math Camp. Low and behold, this coming year it was in Minneapolis. I read several people’s blogs about Twitter Math Camp and watched some youtube videos that were submitted. I discovered the wiki and watched some of the “My Favorites” sessions. I used some of the things that I found in my classroom and had wonderful success with them. I knew I wanted to go to #TMC16!
Knowing I wanted to go and actually going were two different things. I had to figure out registration and accidentally missed registration due to being exceptionally sick during the month of February. I made the wait list and then waited. Fortunately I was in Minneapolis so they could call me the day before and I would jump on the opportunity to show up. I waited and waited and actually forgot about it until I got the happy email from Lisa telling me that I had made the cut! I was so excited that I told several of the administrators at my school about it and they were actually jealous! (It was a weird situation for me to be in.) This was May.
As we got closer and closer to the date, my excitement stayed. However, my anxiety climbed. I was terrified that I would make a fool of myself. That people would realize that I was a fake and did not know as much as I thought. I actually stopped blogging because I was afraid it would show. June came and school was out so I started working on some professional development and summer school planning. This helped my anxiety drop some because I was not as focused on it.
Then Friday night came. It was the day of the Desmos pre-workshop. (I really wanted to gate crash the workshop and I probably should have but oh well.) I was attending the twins game and had to go pick up my ticket at the dorms. I had delibrately chosen to go to the game to force me to socialize with some people and see what it wouuld be like to attend TMC for real if it was in another city. The fact that I had paid $30 was pretty much the only reason why I dragged myself out of my apartment that day and went to get my ticket. There had been some emailing about timing regarding the twins game and then there was very little twitter chatter (or at least very little that I could see)! I showed up at about 5:30 and picked up my ticket and waited in the dorms. While I waited, there were very few people in the area and none of them talked to me. I was terrified that I would be the wallflower and would stay that way. No one showed up for a ride to the game (they all must have gone earlier… but I was okay with that since it gave me the time alone in the car.) I got to the game and comtemplated just hanging out in the standing room on the lower deck instead of going upstairs. Eventually I made it to the group of math teachers and sat with them while we watched the game. I am not talented at starting conversations with people so I really just sat and watched the game and I was alright with that.
Eventually, Meg Craig (@mathymeg07) started talking to me. She introduced me to several people that were at the game and I started feeling more comfortable just being there. That was half my battle. I survived that first evening with TMC people!
The next day it was easier to get out of bed knowing that I would at least know someone there. I missed the newbie session (thanks to the alarm that hates me!). I went to my first morning session and met people for lunch. I eventually became more and more comfortable talking to the people that were around me and slowly got over my anxiety.
People did talk to me! People did sit with me at the Newbie dinner! People came up and said hello in the large group session! People let me be a part of their trivia team! People sat with me at lunch! And people said goodbye on the last day! Overall, I consider it a success. I made it to TMC. I enjoyed TMC. And I feel renewed and reenergized and ready to start the school year!
Then Tuesday came and Glenn Waddell (@gwaddellvhs) got up and told his story about the first TMC. Check it out here! It resonnated so much with me and what I was feeling that I was starting to tear up! It described what it was like everyday for me at TMC this year. I would get out of bed and think “You don’t have to go, no one will know if you don’t” and I just kept going anyways!
No guaratees that next year I will be able to afford it but I know that I will do everything in my power to make it to TMC in Atlanta! Thank you all for helping me feel successful with my first year at TMC!