Why I Was Scared of the #MTBoS

This week, at the MCTM conference in Duluth, I had the pleasure of listening to Sara VanDerWerf.  She was advocating for something I already now believe in- the power of teaching, twitter and the MTBoS.  She made the statement: “Many of you expressed you wanted different opportunities to connect and collaborate with your peers, Twitter is that opportunity.”  While I now totally agree with this statement, there were many years that I did not, and this post is about the reasons why.

When I am in my classroom, there is no second-guessing what I do or how I have planned out the day.  I am ready for any challenge presented to me by my students- in fact I welcome it.  I believe that I have created great experiences for students to experience, discover and learn math.  I do not worry when my administrator drops by for a visit- they typically are impressed with what happens in my room (especially since I have had 8 different administrators within the 12 years I have been teaching).  As every teacher does, you start to collect a variety of go-to lessons that begin to define your curriculum.  These involve activities that inspire students, create wonder, contain great mathematics and ignite heated discussions.  I needed a place to start to store these gems- something other than the behemoth of filing cabinets I see in my peer’s rooms.  I have always been a techie, I wanted to store my ideas someplace that wasn’t physically limiting (especially when it comes that time to change jobs).  That is when I first started to think of the internet as a place other than my vast resource for ideas- but rather a place to store my ideas.

I began to creep as my students would say.  I started visiting blogs, devouring ideas and manipulating them into something I could use for my classroom.  I used those blogs to find others- until I had this big web of sites I visited weekly, and some daily.  I found myself connecting to many posts and responders- suddenly for the first time I began to feel that I was not alone on my classroom island (I worked at a school where I was the only mathematics teacher at that level, and vertical discussion of practices or curriculum was not met with enthusiasm).  I wrote my first blog, about linear equations, and it wasn’t very good.  I shouldn’t have been disappointed, it was written for me- having anyone else discover it would be a bonus (so to say).  Still when putting yourself out there publicly, it’s hard to not focus on what happens publicly (or lack thereof).  I just focused on my students and classroom and let the beast that is the MTBoS lie.

It wasn’t until I read Dan’s post, Why Do You Blog: Then Vs. Now?, that I starting thinking about why I took that first step into the MTBoS.  I wanted to not only make an online resource for myself, but I wanted to reach beyond my physical locale- I wanted to find other teachers who were in similar belief and what they were doing to be successful.  Dan and a colleague, Dana Woods, started me blogging again, and for this I am very grateful.  Every time I post I have this nagging fear of how my posts will be received, I have come to respect you all and rely on you guys- and to that end I do not want to disappoint you in ridiculous blather.  On the flip side, I really wish you all to read this and provide me with input, ways to make me a better teacher for my students.

Currently, I feel that I may be slightly adrift with my blogs, that there are many focal points that interest me at this time.  I also feel like I haven’t been able to fully devote myself to my reflectional blog, but that comes with taking on a new position at a new school district.  BUT I have met a lot of great, supportive people on the MTBoS, and consider you all friends.  You have pushed me to grow in a way I never did before I discovered this community.  I continue to grow with you, and you never cease to create a smile when I roll through tweets.

To this day, I am still hesitant to share with others my twitter handle or blog address, I still am intimidated with the thought that others may wonder what the heck I am thinking with my ideas- but I know that this community has allowed me to expand my MTBoS voice while challenging me to improve myself professionally in a way that no other PLC could.  Thank you.

One thought on “Why I Was Scared of the #MTBoS

  1. I always love your stuff! I may or not be able to use it, but I always enjoy reading what you have to say. Be sure to stay true to you and as others accept you (or not), you’ll know you’re blogging for all of the right reasons. If they don’t understand, it’s their loss.

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