First of all, I will not be attending this year, so I am sorry I won't get to meet you in person. There are many reasons for this (two other times away from family already this summer, being chief among them), but also because one of the great things about TMC is the intimacy of it.
Deciding to keep the numbers down means more interaction among more people. I was blessed to attend this most fabulous of professional development 3 years in a row (thanks to the administration in my school, who supported me professionally and financially), and met some fabulous people with whom I stay in touch via Twitter. I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to take up a spot that maybe should go to a first timer.
So, First Timers: go for it! Jump in and learn and share. You have a lot to contribute, so don't be shy (this coming from a MAJOR introvert). Be sure to tag along when someone announces a bunch of people are going to dinner. This is how I met Brian Bushart (@bstockus) and Meg Craig (@mathymeg07). OR hang around the hotel lobby or restaurant, which is where I got to meet Sarah Martin (@Sarah3Martin) and Max Ray-Reik (@maxmathforum). Max!..... whose book I had just finished reading on the plane, and who eventually came to my school. He helped me change the way I teach: a small adjustment which has resulted in BIG changes in the way my students and I learn and share.
I even got to meet some of my heroes (and was brave enough to ask for pictures):
But more importantly, I had the opportunity to meet people who live in my geographic area so we could get together for fun and for brain storming!
I hope in the near future, more of this great professional development at TMC will be video taped so others can benefit from it! (Yes, @cheesemonkeysf, I sure would like to see your morning sessions at TMC17!). What an amazing library of professional development that would make! But be sure to visit the wikis and the archives from previous Twitter Math Camps. They are full of fantastic materials and ideas.
This school year is going to be a real challenge for me. It is the end of July and I still don't know what courses I will be teaching. Because of some dual enrollment courses, I will no longer be teaching my favorite Honors Pre-Calculus classes (I don't have the requisite majors/Masters), and may end up teaching some courses I have never taught. My teaching load will also be increased. AND we have two new staff joining our math department, to whom I will want to be sure to be available .
But I will not be alone. In addition to the great math faculty at my school, I have a huge Professional Learning Community in the Math Twitter Blogosphere (be sure to go explore it!) I may be shouting out for help along the way. Thank you, in advance, to members of MTBoS past, present, and future, for your help! I will be reading your tweets and posts (especially during TMC 17 time).
One final piece of advice: Go forth and have a blast, First Timers!