A year ago, I went to Twitter Math Camp (TMC) and it was a wonderful experience. TMC is a great conference full of all sorts of opportunities for maths teachers to learn from each other in many ways. The one way I like the best out of all the possibilities is “My Favourite”.
My Favourite is a short presentation of 5-15 mins about one of your favourite maths teaching things. Anyone attending TMC can put in a proposal to present one, and they are presented during the big whole-group sessions at the start/end of each day one after the other. Glenn Waddell recorded all of the My Favourites from 2017, and you can view them in a YouTube playlist here.
I have a few reasons why My Favourite is my favourite.
Everyone is worthy: I love the fact that anyone at TMC can do a My Favourite and everyone is welcome to. Anyone can become a conference presenter by simply having something to say and asking to say it, and you get to do it in front of the whole conference. At TMC17 I said one of the remarkable wonderful things about TMC is that everyone is worthy to present. My Favourites is one of the ways the TMC organisers really make that real.
Hearing things I didn’t know I needed: In the rest of the TMC conference you go to the sessions because you wanted to hear something in particular. The description in the program said something that made you want to hear more about that particular thing. With My Favourites you don’t know what you will hear, but it may just be the very thing you needed to hear today. You get to see the things that others love, and often the simple things that make a difference to their daily teaching lives. I would never know about some of those things without My Favourites and I am so grateful for it.
Excitement in the everyday: I love seeing the excitement of teachers who love something about their job. It reminds me that as hard as teaching is, you can find things worth being excited about within it, and that these things are many and varied. Seeing a variety of different people excited about a variety of different things gets me excited too. I want to go back to my teaching space and look for the things I might share at a My Favourite if I had an opportunity to do so.
Bravery: Finally, I love seeing the bravery of people sharing something about themselves with less than a day’s notice. It’s amazing to see this sort of courage especially in people who might be intimidated by the people they admire being in the audience. Yet this is the power of TMC. We know that those in the audience will listen and encourage. As Edmund Harris said, “everyone is worthy to present, but wants to be in the audience.” The encouraging environment helps the My Favourites presenters to be brave, which is a testament to what community can achieve.
I won’t be at TMC this year, and to am dearly hoping someone records the My Favourites again so I can see them! If you are going to TMC please sign up to do one, so that we can all hear you excitedly and bravely share things we didn’t know we needed to hear.