I had a few small pangs of regret when I missed Teachmeet BETT this year. It was the teachmeet at BETT a few years ago which inspired me to run a teachmeet in Birmingham, and I know other have been likewise inspired.
Friday’s event was surely a great feat of organisation, and credit must go to all the organisers, volunteers and sponsors who helped out.
However I am getting increasingly wary of events. There are 13 teachers in my school and only one, aside from myself, is connected in any way with teachers from other schools. The question I come back to is how can I inspire my teachers to find their own great CPD, their own networks and maintain their own learning journey? My teachers are FAB. They do an amazing job in their classrooms. Yet they have been to huge conferences and been wowed by amazing speakers and I have even foisted a teachmeet upon them, yet they still won’t engage in these events of their own accord.
My reasoning now is that these CPD events have always been too big: I need to engage my staff in smaller groups, maybe even 1:1 relationships, for them to really move on with their own CPD.
Aside from my own staff, I am concerned with who speaks at teachmeets. When an event is massive, you have to have really good speakers – and there were some brilliant speakers at this year’s teachmeet BETT. But there must also be a place for teachers to develop their public speaking in smaller groups – and a small teachmeet is perfect for this. A teachmeet is away from the school-enforced CPD demands and devoid of any performance management overtones and so is a brilliant way for people to learn about presenting their ideas and sharing their best practice.
It’s short notice, but I’m still hoping to help someone run a teachmeet in Birmingham on National Teachmeet Day on 6th Feb – if anyone wants to get a few folk together at their school in the 2nd city, let me know and I’ll lend a hand.