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Presenting Part of Professional Development

October 23, 2012

Last Friday was the British Columbia provincial professional development day. It is a day when teachers across the province gather to fine tune their craft. It has always been my belief that no matter how long you have taught, how smart you are, or how wise you become, there is lots to learn. Provincial Specialist Associations (PSAs) play a major role in ensuring these conferences occur by working with a local organizing committee. To this end,  I need to express my gratitude to the conference committee for the great job they did in organizing the conference and the British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCAMT) for sponsoring.

The Math In Bloom conference was attended by over 1000 delegates and speakers from across North America. There were leaders in math education at the conference including Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer), Catherine Fosnot and Patrick Vennebush (@pvennebush) not to mention the wealth of talented educators from around BC. The ideas presented challenged me to rethink my beliefs in some cases and reaffirmed them in other cases.

One of the best parts of the conference for me was co-presenting. Giving a presentation is not new to me. Over the years I have likely given close to a hundred different presentations and workshops on a variety of topics. One of my presentations this time was a little different as I had a chance to mentor another teacher as a co-presenter. Understandably my co-presenter was a little nervous about taking a risk and sharing her ideas. Anyone who has presented at a conference in front of their peers can remember the experience and understand why she may have been nervous.  Regardless of any nervousness she may have felt she did a wonderful job and quickly moved into her comfort zone and was able to provide her classroom experiences with other teachers. In her story she was the expert and was happy to share.

As a result of my experience, I would encourage all of my fellow teacher presenters to mentor another educator. Encourage another person to give a presentation and share their knowledge.  Imagine the collective knowledge of educators in BC if their stories were shared. Yes, it is important to hear what “big name” educators have to say but it is equally important to hear what those who teach in the classroom next door have to share.

Those who are willing to stretch their rubber band and step outside their comfort zones will be rewarded. I encourage everyone to make presenting at a conference part of their yearly professional development plan.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ray Myrtle permalink
    November 9, 2012 2:22 pm

    Hello Richard:
    Good to see you are back in the classroom, and that you were at the Math PSA conf.
    I’d like to chat with you about a special interest of mine, early career teachers. I’ve been working on the Start UP program with PITA for 6 yrs or so, and would like to talk about ways to improve it.
    I’m interested particularly about ways we can help early career generalist teachers learn about suggestions for teaching specific outcomes. Math seems to be more ‘specific’ than some other subjects, and students seem to benefit from the use of specific strategies for certain outcomes.

    My email ray.myrtle (at) , I’d like to send you a couple of things we might talk about.
    Ray Myrtle.

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