Have you: a) Heard of teachmeets? b) Attended a teachmeet? c) Presented at a teachmeet? d) Considered doing it for yourself?
In February 2012 I attended my second Teachmeet and made my first presentation. It was my second meet after a gap of 2 or 3 years. I was definitely not considering option D at that point. There followed a flurry of events and in the summer I was privileged to be contacted by Tom Sherrington (@headguruteacher) along with Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic), which led to organising TMEssex in November 2012. My role was mainly one of contacting possible speakers. In 10 days we had a full complement and the task had been very enjoyable. We repeated the experience in March 2013 when much less work was needed, as we had a number of interested speakers. Each time the format of the event was considered and whether it should be varied to maintain audience interest.
Andy Lewis (@iTeachRE) and I had discussed taking the idea to organise TMHavering and we met up in autumn 2013 to explore the possibilities. I have been very fortunate that Andy was able to hold everything together, as at that time circumstances meant that I had personal issues to deal with in the run up to our first two events in February and July 2014. However, he is now developing a London REHub and it is my turn to stand up and be counted.
The third instalment of TMHavering goes ahead on Wednesday 19th November. I have brought a new vehicle for staff professional development to my new school, and I thank them for their investment in the idea. The latest venue offers a different possibility, so I am developing a new strategy for our Teachmeets.
There will be no volunteering to speak, presentations will not be made in front of the whole audience at one time. Instead, the event will offer a choice of 4 themes and a variety of 20 minute workshop presentations. I also hope to include a live diary room to collect attendees’ views.
Anyone can set up a TeachMeet or any other CPD event for that matter. It is hard work, but if you develop a good PLN (personal learning network) through networks like Twitter, then it is easier to invite and promote events to others.
I ask that you, the reader, consider that…
a) if you had not heard of Teachmeets previously that you try to attend at least one in the 2014/15 academic year.
b) if you have attended one previously, support more events or other education conferences like TLT, Pedagoo events, Northern Rocks.
c) keep on developing techniques, skills, pedagogies in your lessons – please share them at an event – you will be amongst like-minded professionals if they attend such events in their own time.
d) consider it… find someone to work with you on it ….organise event – it may be a small internal for your school, it could be a local area based, or really go for it and invite people from far and wide.
Andy Knill is Head of Geography at The Albany School, Hornchurch, Havering. Find him online at mishmashlearning.wordpress.com and globalsolo. wordpress.com and on Twitter at @aknill, @globalsolo and, of course @TMHavering.