Math = Love: Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

Yes, I know the end of yesterdays post was a tease.  Sorry about that!

I've got two announcements!

First off, I will be presenting at the Global Math Department this Tuesday, February 11th at 8:00 (CST).  I'll be speaking about teaching math through motion.  The presentation is inspired by a post I wrote about Rock, Paper, Scissors Math.  (Read the post here.)  And, I can't wait to share some creative (I think) ways to use this game to review and practice various mathematical concepts.  I'll also share other ideas I have to get your students moving in the math classroom.  If you plan on listening in, be sure to RSVP at the above link.  If you can't attend but would love to hear what I had to say, I will be sure to post a link to the recorded video after the event!  

Secondly, I submitted a proposal to present at Twitter Math Camp this summer, and it was accepted!  I'll be presenting on Saturday regarding Inspiring Mathematical Curiosity Through Hands-On Activities.  As TMC approaches, I will post more details about this!  I'm very excited about getting to meet all of my favorite bloggers in person!

I don't know if you realize this or not, but these are both kind of a BIG deal for me.  For those of you who have never met me in person, I haven't always been the most outgoing person.  I used to hate talking in front of large (or small) groups of people.  Giving my valedictorian speech was one of the most nerve-wracking things I have ever done.  My sister recorded that speech, but I've never had the courage to watch it.  My voice faltered.  I was the antithesis of calm.  There were so many people listening, and I kind of let that get to me.

Yet, I decided to go into teaching.  I still remember my high school counselor questioning that decision.  She was convinced that there was no way I was going to be able to pick up a phone and call the parents of my students.  For some reason, I just assumed that my shyness would disappear when I stepped in front of my students.  That's not exactly the way it worked.  Somewhere along the way in college, I started coming out of my shell.  It was a slow and tough process.  I feel terrible for that group of students who had to witness my first attempts at teaching.  I had no clue what I was doing, and it showed.  But, the more I stood up in front of a classroom and taught, the more confidence I found.

I have a theory.  If you can stand up in front of a roomful of teenagers and teach them algebra, you can talk in front of anybody.  Last year, as a first year teacher, I was asked to lead a professional development session for the faculty of my high school on how to make learning more interactive and hands-on.  I was scared, but my presentation ended up going well.  A great conversation among our faculty was sparked, and many coworkers stopped me to tell me what a great job I had done with my presentation.  One of our other teachers is trying out interactive notebooks this year, and I'd like to think that maybe my presentation had a part in that.

This blog has given me a place to develop my voice.  When I started this blog, I had no clue that it would bring me here.  So often, I think that I should have nothing to share.  After all, this is only my second year of teaching.  But, that is destructive thinking.  I have so much to share.  It doesn't matter that so much of what I share is adapted from an idea that I stole from someone else.  My sharing leads to my growth.  It leads to my students' growth.  And, it leads to the growth of other educators.  In turn, their growth leads to the growth of their students.  It's a never-ending cycle that I am proud to be a part of.  So, I proudly steal the ideas of others, tweak them, mix in some of my own ideas, teach them, take pictures of them, reflect on them, and press the "Publish" button.  My blog is a result of that progress.

Finding my voice in blogging and in my classroom has led to other exciting opportunities.  For the past two summers, I have served as my church's Vacation Bible School (VBS) Director.  Last year, our theme was Kingdom Adventure.  On our Family Night, I stood in front of over a hundred people, dressed in a pink cape and shiny crown, and shared with parents and family members what we had been learning that week.  Just a few years ago, I was the volunteer that hated to even stand up and be recognized as a volunteer.  Now, I'm the one recognizing the other volunteers.

Though I have come so far, there are still the voices in my head that I'll never be brave enough/confident enough to do certain things.  For me, blogging is safe.  It comes naturally. It's time for me to stop hiding behind a blog post and do more.

A couple of months ago, Kate invited me to present at the Global Math Department.  I've attended the Global Math Department before, but I never saw myself as a presenter.  That's about to change!

Submitting a proposal to TMC is something I almost didn't do.  At the last minute, I did.  And, I'm so glad I made that decision.  Now, my attitude about this may be a little different come July!

I've also submitted a proposal to speak at my state math teacher conference.  I don't think I will hear about whether my proposal was accepted or not until the end of this month.

Exciting changes are ahead for me, and I invite you to join me if possible!


  1. We lead similar lives, not that I am speaking at either places, but congrats on that. I was also valedictorian in school and hated presentations. My face got beat red and my voice quivered beyond control. And, now I love speaking to HS kids. I get more nervous having to speak to parents. Also, I help lead our church youth group and mission trips. I have to lead students in prayer and processing and i have to speak at our parent meetings. Who knew we would be where we are? Congrats

  2. Way to go!! You will be awesome - you have so much to offer. I wish I was half as brave as you.

  3. Good for you! You have so much to share. I am much like you in that I hate, HATE talking in front of people. Sadly, that has only gotten worse as I've gotten older. My classroom is my safe place, but ask me to talk in front of adults? NO! I really commend you for going out on the limb and expanding your comfort zone! I appreciate all your great ideas and your stories. I'm hoping to make it to my first TMC and will definitely be at your session if I make it. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks! If you make it to TMC, we'll definitely have to meet up!

  4. How exciting!! You'll do great! It would be too cool to sit in on any of your presentations (especially if you had a pink cape and shiny crown on haha).

    1. Thanks, Jill!. It's definitely exciting (and terrifying!)