Update August 1: I feel pretty strongly about the content of this post but it’s goal was not to throw Dan under a bus it was supposed to be a wake up call. A harsh reminder of the fact that while I know he personally itches at the idea of being a leader or of this group at all having a leader at all he is it by default. By blogging first, by blogging often, by providing real classroom stuff before the rest of us, by doing a tedTalk. While I do use the f-word in this post and it’s pretty common in my vernacular (please don’t try to see how many times I have used it here, its a lot) I understand that that came off as at least not helpful and at most pretty mean. I also know that twitter has rallied around this post and some of that contributed to the bus throwing.
This is all to say Dan, I’m sorry. I was harsh. I hurt you and I damaged a long standing relationship. It was not my intention but as that impact matters more.
This is a response to this post by Dan Meyer.
Let’s start here. Actually let’s start before here. Is that a thing? Before here. Let’s start with me addressing my own privilege in this community. I have been a member of the online math teacher community since (according to my twitter) 2010. I have about a thousand followers many of whom of are also early adopters of the twitter and blogging. This platform reaches between one and two thousand people and some posts I have written are regularly read in teacher credentialing programs. This is not to brag. This is just to say, I understand my privilege in this community and my power (which is not a ton but definitely some).
Now let’s talk about Dan’s. Seven years ago Dan wrote a post about me that actually got me a job interview. It is a lovely post. Dan has about 57 thousand followers on twitter. For reference Josh tweeted this:
While many of us consider Sam and Kate as influencers in the math teacher community each of them have about six thousand followers to Dan’s 57. That is not including his blog or the training he does for districts. In every interview panel I have every sat in for a math teacher job someone has mentioned Dan and his work. That is to say Dan has a lot of privilege and power within this community.
For those tl;dr friends: I have some status. Dan has all of it.
Okay, Let’s go back to this
I’m sorry but my first response to that was actually outloud, “Well, fuck you.”
But my second response is this timeline:
In 2012 PCMI participants got an email sending them to the weebly and Tina
tweeted requesting people welcome those newbies.
In June of 2013 there was State of the MTBoS global math discussion.
2013 was the year of PD where a bunch of people (I think Dan included) made presentations for their departments on how get involved.
At 2013 TMC and 2016 TMC there were “breaking out of ourselves” sessions to discuss expanding the MTBoS
October 2013 was the first Explore MTBoS initiative on the explore site (exploremtbos.wordpress.com
) but there had been one before that hosted on our blogs
We’ve done lots of impromptu blogging initiatives to help people gain momentum
April 2015 was the first NCTM booth and the April 2015 was also Explore MTBoS timed to go with the booth
January 2016 there was another Explore MTBoS initiative
January 2017 there was another ExploreMTBoS initiative
I guess it’s not obvious that we are trying to expand out community? That we are attempting to make a blatantly laid out the path to gaining social capital in the community.
And again: tl;dr there are countless efforts to make the community more inclusive and intuitive happening all the time and a great number of people invested in this work (for no money or personal gain).
Now here’s where I get real. I don’t really care what hashtag you tweet under. #MTBoS #iteachmath #statschat #elemmath. I don’t do a good job of following any of those. Carl could tell you which get used the most but it really doesn’t effect me. I mostly follow people I know and people who tweet at me and any real good retweets. Here at the 600 word count is where my problem with this whole post is:
You saw a problem and decided to fix it without asking or looking first. You didn’t consider your privilege or status as the most prominent member of our community.
Problem: People feel like the MTBoS is an exclusive club. Tweets are going unanswered.
Solution: NEW HASHTAG!!!!
This is not a solution. This is also not how to community organize. The post you wrote hurt a lot of very active members of this community. It made unfair assumptions (that we don’t already talk about this and worry about this all the time). It’s tone was dismissive of the seriousness of this problem.
I am going to reference this article on how to use your privilege to structure this note:
- Listen and Trust. Ask first if the work is already being done. When someone says it is, believe them.
- Not every conversation needs your voice…
- But some do. You have a large platform and you are trying to do the work get involved, awesome! This community is made up of people doing this work for free.
- Signal Boost. This is what should have happened in the first place. How about a post about all the work already being done?
- Accept when you’re wrong and try to learn from it. There were several people on twitter calling you out on this and instead you continued to argue. In fact even in your rewording of the post you don’t ever apologize.
- Don’t expect thank yous.
- Do something. Host an explore the MTBoS. Have a link on your blog. Ask Tina, Lisa, Sam, or Julie what they most want amplified.
tl;dr I am pissed not so much about the hashtag itself but actually Dan’s use of privilege and disregard for the work already being done.
Saturday, I tweeted I was annoyed with Dan’s post and Dan invited me to take it offline:
Dan, I didn’t do that. I wrote this instead. It is long and unwieldy and not nearly as angry as it would have been had I have wrote it Saturday. You hurt my friends and didn’t apologize. You were condescending to me and didn’t recognize your own power. This post may generate some some conversations and there will be people who disagree me. I’m happy to chat about that here or on twitter. I am giving this conversation 3 days and then I’m out. Because as Auntie Maxine says, “I’m reclaiming my time.”
tl;dr It’s short just read it.
p.s. I read a great article about how she loves when millennials call her Auntie Maxine and I am so in.
P.P.S. Some other posts on this topic: Fawn, Kate, Grace