Who Goes To Twitter Math Camp?

Michael Pershan
Jul 28, 2014 · 4 min read

Twitter Math Camp (TMC14) is an annual conference for math teachers who connect on the internet. On the second day of the conference, I shared a survey with the crowd and asked attendees to help me gather some interesting demographic data about the people in the room. Out of 150 attendees, 137 responded.

Quick Demographics Stats

Overall, 76% of the teaching profession is female. At TMC14, 64% of attendees identified as female.

Compared to the profession, TMC14 attendees were relatively young.

The mean age was 37 years old, and the median age was 35. Ten attendees were 26 years old, making it the modal age.

Twitter Math Camp was overall whiter than the profession, but had a relatively high representation of Native American teachers.

In sum, TMC14 is whiter, younger and more male than the profession as a whole. It’s important to note, though, that math teachers themselves are whiter and more male than the profession.

So, while TMC is whiter and more male than the profession, so are math teachers as a whole. In contrast, math teachers are in some ways older than the general teaching population. The most significant difference between math teachers, in general, and TMC attendees is age.

Where Do TMCers Work?

Most of TMC14 attendees work in suburban schools.

Nationally, most students (and most teachers?) are also in suburban schools. Assuming that the distribution of teachers follows the distribution of students, TMC represents well the distribution across city/suburban/rural locales.

Some other quick facts about how TMC attendees stacked up to the profession:

  • 48% of TMCers work in environments where half or more students receive free or reduced lunch. Nationally, 45% of schools have more than half of students receiving free or reduced lunch.
  • Nationally, 12% of teachers work in private schools. At TMC, 10% of teachers work in independent schools. 3% work in charters, while nationally around 5.8% of schools are charters.

In sum, the spread of schools where TMC attendees work is similar to the national distribution of schools.

TMC14 and NCTM Membership

It’s widely remarked that TMC does something for attendees that the larger conferences don’t. Are TMC members also NCTM members?

NCTM membership among attendees varies significantly among age groups. In general, the older you are the more likely you were to be an NCTM member.

The exception to this was those 30 and under, who are NCTM members at a higher rate those aged 31-40.

Practice, man, practice

How do you get to TMC14? 69% of attendees paid their own way, out of pocket.

Cost of attending is clearly an issue for many participants. Though the conference itself is free, it rests on attendees to pay for their own travel and hotels.

While the largest obstacle standing in the way of attending future TMC conferences is cost, cost matters more to older attendees than to younger ones.

What’s Next?

What do math teachers want out of a professional conference? Is it what NCTM can offer? TMC14 was diverse in many ways — is there any work to be done to try and make TMC15 more diverse? What will happen to this group of young teachers in the next few years?

This is definitely a conference to keep your eye on. Interesting stuff is happening here.

    Michael Pershan

    Written by

    I teach math and I also do some other things, but for the purposes of twitter I mostly teach math. This year: Geometry, Trig and 4th Graders.