Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pretty Please Join Us

I had an amazing time at TMC this past week.  I hope to write more about it soon.  I'm not quite there yet, though...

However, as a result of TMC, Levi Patrick (@_levi_), Oklahoma's Director of Secondary Mathematics, asked some of us Oklahoma bloggers to talk about why we love the MTBoS, in hopes that other Oklahoma teachers would jump on this bandwagon.  So here we go:

And for those who prefer to read, the transcript (more or less):

Hi!  My name is Rebecka Peterson.  I teach algebra through calculus at Union High School in Tulsa, and I want to take two minutes to tell you about an amazing group of math teachers who have changed the way I teach.  They call themselves the “MTBoS,” the Math twitter blogosphere.  We’re a group of math teachers who interact online (mostly through blogs and Twitter) to help each other grow in our respective classrooms.  It’s a virtual PLC.  Everyone’s story is a bit different, but here’s how I got started:

I started reading blogs about two years into teaching.  I think it all started one day when I dangerously Googled the words, “How to teach absolute value equations,” and stumbled upon Kate Nowak’s blog, A Function of Time.  I was totally captivated by the way she taught these equations and immediately started reading more articles—both by her and by other bloggers.  And I was hooked. 

I lurked for a few more months: at first I was solely a reader.  Then, I got brave enough to add a comment here or there.  As I continued to read, I was simultaneously impressed and overwhelmed by these amazing teachers.  They were so good at their craft.  These bloggers became my heroes.  So, much like a little sibling, I decided the best way to become like them was to start my own blog, too. 

I started blogging early in 2012.  At the time I was teaching at the college level, but most of the teachers I interacted with online were high school teachers.  To be completely honest, they were a really big part of my decision to accept a high school teaching position.  They were so passionate and so encouraging and so willing to share that I felt like experiencing what they experienced day in and day out would surely only lead to further growth.

And it did.  I just finished my fifth year of teaching, my second at the high school level, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.  While I have really amazing coworkers, together, we still only make up a very very small piece of the pie.  So, I love interacting with other teachers online because you have that many more people investing in you and wanting to see you grow.

One of the most rewarding things about blogging is once I publish a post, others will take an idea I wrote about and make it so much better, or tweak it so that it fits their classroom needs.  In so doing, it’s possible that you can positively affect other teachers or students far outside your own school.  And being math teachers, I think we can all appreciate the ripple effect that can take place.

In closing, I just want to encourage you—you don’t have to jump in with both feet right away.  You don’t have to blog AND use Twitter.  Most of us start by just reading.  Read posts that you find interesting and that you think will be beneficial to YOUR classes.  And, when and if you’re ready to participate more, just create a blog or Twitter account and see where it’ll take you.

Welcome to the MTBoS!  I hope you’ll grace us with your expertise and questions.


Check out @mathequalslove and @druinok's videos, too!