TeachMeet Clevedon: Learning Rocks #thefinalword?

By October 26, 2012 One Comment

I thought after all of the amazing feedback from last week’s event (was it really this time last week??!) I thought it was only fair that I pen my own response and thoughts about the night.

Before the night even started, staff and students were working hard to make the event a success. The first thing that was sorted was the amazing stage set which was put together by students and our subject leader for Art @kellylhawkins along with her PGCE student Katherine and Head of House, Jamie Williams.

Visitors arrived to be met by Clevedon students, scanning their tickets using the fantastic Eventbrite check in app which managed all of the tickets and check-ins on the night.

Before the night even started we were subject to some fantastic food, prepared and cooked by the students of Clevedon School. There were gourmet handmade mini cheeseburgers and also chicken tikka wraps and other delicious fare. It was made, delivered and served by the students. A great way to start the evening.

My attire for the evening was somewhat sparkly, but it certainly helped to get the night off to a fun and humourous start, which was what we wanted. Teachers feeling relaxed, watered, fed and ready for some great learning and sharing.

First up was someone who didn’t really need introducing, but I did it anyway… Vic Goddard who reminded us in a really clear way that it is our job to do the best for the students we work with. One of his quotes, which was probably the quote of the night was that:

‘We can’t accept being part of their success if you don’t own up to your part in their failures’

Vic Goddard opening TeachMeet Clevedon

It was a truly inspirational start to the evening and he ended with some brilliant advice via Taylor Mali and his slam poem, “What teachers make”

We were then fortunate to catch @ben_keeling talking about his idea about school transformation through 3 doodles at a time. More info on Ben and his work here: http://edu-sketches.com/about/

Our seminars then broke and in a new twist to the TeachMeet format, we had 6 seminars which took place for about 45 mins. The feedback on these has been great. One teacher took ideas from @kellylhawkins seminar and got an Outstanding observation the very next day! The back channel work leading to Zoe Elder’s (@fullonlearning) workshop on Marginal Gains or the fantastic tools shown and how they can be used by Wendy Hanrahan (@primaryict) and David Didau’s ‘Secrets of Literacy’ seminars were really well received. Public critique was the focus for Tait Coles‘ seminar and both his and Clevedon School’s Head Teacher’s presentations on ‘Whole School Learning’ have brought brilliant feedback too. I’m really pleased that the seminars went down so well. Previous feedback had been that visitors had wanted the opportunity to not only specialise but also to network and the seminar slots provided that opportunity. We built in time for everyone to not only attend a specialist seminar, but also factored in time for everyone to mingle, grab another drink, catch up and network with other attendees.

Once this was over with, it was down to the usual ‘quick fire’ TeachMeet presentations and we weren’t let down here again. Highlights for me included Alessio Bernardelli’s (@asober) ‘Prezi’ presentation, Dave Stacey’s @davestacey ‘Rebooting his teaching’ presentation and my absolute favourite was one that made me so proud when our Digital Leaders stood up and talked about the Digital Leaders scheme at Clevedon School and how the sort of work they do and how they became to be Digital Leaders. A massive thank you to all of the presenters from me though – we work so hard in our day jobs, it is a massive deal taking the time to prepare something for an event such as ours and having the courage to stand up in front of all these people too. Thank you.

I would also like to take a special paragraph in this write up to thank Jim Smith @thelazyteacher too, because I’ll let you in to a secret – he’s not lazy (apart from maybe in the classroom). Where he gets his energy from I do not know – if Red Bull could bottle him, they’d have a new brand. If it wasn’t for his support, ideas and hard work, none of us would have had the great night we did. Thanks Jim.

As I’ve said, lots of people have written about their experiences of the night, the learning that took place, the connections and re-connections made, the inspiration and the fun they had. I have personally found it really rewarding watching the follow on from the night; reading on my Twitter timeline about discussions continued, ideas falling in to place, impact happening in schools all over our region and beyond. It was for all intents and purposes a good night had by all. For me though, the thing that really has stuck in my mind, was the buzz. The feeling of being part of something. Of being a member of a community, a society of teachers who give so much of a damn about teaching and the young people they work with that they were prepared to traverse the country to get to the night to share with us. Coming from literally all over the UK to be with people who do, as Lisa Jane Ashes (who came from nr. Newcastle) said in her blog, “Give a….” about education. We even had the inspirational and highly regarded Ian Gilbert in our midst too, soaking up the atmosphere. So as with all our Teachmeets I extend yet another open invitation to Mr Gove to come along to the next one and see what teachers who care about their profession do. Come and see what it is that makes us tick. Come along and check out our students, proud and passionate about their education to want to talk about their learning to hundreds of teachers. Come and see these professionals who give do give their time, effort, passion, money and life to the best job in the world. Come and learn.

Here’s to more of the same!

I truly hope very much to see you all next time.



You can watch sessions again by visiting http://youtube.com/tmclevedon

Resources from the night can be found here: http://bit.ly/learningrocks

Big thanks go again also to our sponsors without whom the night couldn’t have gone ahead:

Crown House Publishing

Independent Thinking Limited

Western Computers




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