So my first ever teachmeet, 25th June 2014 – sorry to those old hand teachmeet -ers. Tempted as I am to compare it with my blog about meetings, and give a score, this is a very different sort of meeting. No one is compelled to go and it seems only enthusiasts do the presentations, and teaching is blessed with many enthusiasts, truly! Note that carefully any readers who are not teachers!
So what happens is you sign up then turn up – I did so with about 100 others in Nottingham attending the National College. What a great place to meet on a sunny summer evening! I am so jealous, there are many new buildings around the Nottingham City area for education thanks to the investment of two great Universities, and our local FE colleges and lots of bsf investment in many schools. I am deeply jealous as my school lost its £16m BSF as we were deciding the colour of paint at the end of 18 months planning, despite a judicial review Mr Gove took the money back. (So still crossing a road between sites in the rain and loving those 60’s corridors!) Hey but that’s not what my blogpost was about and neither is it what a teachmeet is for, except the building, the room, the hospitality, food and drinks are pretty important when the show runs 5.30 to 9.00. So well done organisers, that was all as it should be. The technology needs to be up to it too, there is swift movement between presentations for laptops/screens etc and twitter seemed compulsory, so accessing wifi and clear screens to read and watch video etc is vital to success.
There were some ‘goody bags’ give aways; some fliers from sponsors, some advertising materials. We sat on tables of up to about 10 people and the most enthusiastic discussions came undoubtedly from tables where there were a number of staff from a school or maybe two schools. Murmurs of excitement during a presentation and enthusiastic chatter afterwards.
Once the show kicks off, if you haven’t been to one, there are presentations lasting 2 minutes, 5 minutes or 7 minutes and some people did keep spot on with time, and there were others! We started with @Hywel_Roberts who was fantastic, definitely stimulating and every point was well made with great (northern) humour, great imagination and creativity. Secondary classrooms might benefit from a good dose of that. I couldn’t help be carried along, drawn in and excited by his challenges. fast moving but uplifting – hey there is the word in my blog about meetings. I was a bit frustrated because there was no overall theme or topic and the evening covered items across all sorts of sectors, however I reminded myself that I am an educator, albeit in secondary and we build on stuff from primary or early years etc [Thank you Primary ppl; Thank you EY ppl]. There were some great ideas shown off, really great – could I use them all, not really in a secondary classroom but seeing beyond that was interesting.
There is also the spin off of the network, I was very pleased to see a number of colleagues and some ex pupils now teachers. Networking isn’t easy though if everyone stays on their own table. Not quite true of course because there is the old twitter hashtag #tmm14 and thanks to @paulyb37 a running commentary and some good work from @MarcWithersey and @PeteBevington. There were supportive tweets when their school colleagues presented (difficult to cheer or whoop but anything goes on twitter!) and commendable comments for good presentations and the usual humorous banter, and I saw nothing critical or nasty- that’s teachers for you. If you wish check out the twitter feeds.
So I am now wondering and pondering where teachmeets fit into the CPD spectre:
Q1 Are themed teachmeets effective CPD ?
Q2 Are they more effective in say a primary sector where a meeting brings together lots of schools and their staff?
Q3 Is the model that is “teachmeet” something we should try within say a big secondary school? A model for a twilight, for an INSET; a way to bring different groups of staff or even different school staff who teach e.g. Science together? [I shall investigate this with my next teachmeet]
Q4 Is there any research about the success of a teachmeet, save the attendance numbers?
Q5 Why do you go?