Last week I spent my spring break loitering at the math teachers conference in Anaheim. I learned so much it's been hard to contain it all. Here are some of my observations:.

I learned that no-one checks your badge to see if it's counterfeit.

If you stay at the hotels, the daily parking is $16 where if you only drive in for the day it is $8. And if you park in Garden Grove and walk, it's free. I would think the nightly hotel bill of $160 would offset some of the parking expenses.

I was pleasantly surprised when the parking attendant remember me from my visit two days earlier.

If you buy a hot dog and soda at the Anaheim Convention Center it costs $9.50. I would think the $180 registration fee would offset some of the hot dog expenses.

I learned that $180 is actually inexpensive for a conference of this size and that the many vendors probably made up the difference.

You can get a lot of free stuff from vendors who want you to spend your school's money on a lot of expensive stuff.

There are schools that can't afford the expensive stuff so their teachers spend their own money on less effective substitutes.

I learned that far too many teachers spend their own money on less effective substitutes.

A cheerleading competition was scheduled next door. (I assume it was to cheer on the math teachers.)

People came as far as Australia. (To the math convention. I don't know about the cheerleading one.)

I met a principal that wants me to move to New Mexico. (I assume it was to teach there.)

I met a teacher from Compton, California that doesn't think merit pay based on student performance is fair when she has Algebra classes with 40 plus at-risk students while other districts have more motivated classes of thirty students or less.

She told me that she is considering quitting.

I met a surprisingly large number of people who were looking for the boat show. (They must have walked in from Garden Grove and didn't see the directions.)

I discovered there is free wireless available on the second floor of the Anaheim Convention Center but not anywhere else.

I *did* learn some math teacher stuff but won't bore you with the details.

I learned so much I am *definitely* going next year when it is in St. Louis.

"I met a teacher from Compton, California that doesn't think merit pay based on student performance is fair when she has Algebra classes with 40 plus at-risk students while other districts have more motivated classes of thirty students or less."

If she can't figure out a way to adjust for the starting point of the students then she shouldn't be teaching math.

But if you want progress you would probably be better off paying the students.

Posted by: Rob Sperry | April 20, 2005 at 10:53 PM