Back in November, Ollie Bray, one time fellow geographer at Plymouth University, sent out a tweet to me about a TeachMeet taking place down on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, TeachMeet Dorset. I had heard of TeachMeet but have never had the pleasure or nerves (!) to attend.
Well, after a few minutes of deliberating I decided if I was going to go to any TeachMeet my first one had to be within the county I teach. I signed up on the TeachMeet website and bravely decided I would present too. I had a couple of weeks to work out what I was going to present to other teachers from Dorset. I contacted the organiser of the TeachMeet Dorset, Gary Spracklen of Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) and South West Teacher of the Year, to volunteer my services as a speaker.
After a night of thinking I came up with the idea of 25 Ideas in 7 Minutes. A fool hardy challenge but all I could feel was excitement! TeachMeet was something I have wanted to be involved in for a long time. I couldn’t wait to get there. I persuaded my good friend Nick Hargreaves of Radipole Primary School to attend so I at least had one member of the audience I would know!
So what is a TeachMeet? TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting (in the style of an unconference) for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology. These events are often organised to coincide with other educational events like the Scottish Learning Festival and the British Educational Technology and Training Show BETT.
Participants volunteer (via the TeachMeet website) to demonstrate good practice they’ve delivered over the past year, or discuss a product that enhances classroom practice. TeachMeet events are open to all and do not charge an entry fee.
I really like the idea that you are limited to only speaking for seven minutes which is a great way to keep things moving and interesting.
TeachMeet Dorset was a brilliant event. I had no reason to be nervous or worried. Everyone was lovely and wanted to develop as educators. It was great to hear lots of expert advice and ideas shared in a lovely informal environment. Gary Spraklen was an energetic speaker who did a fantastic task of organising the event who made everyone welcome.
But that wasn’t the end of the story…on May 16th I organised the next TeachMeet Dorset at Gillingham School in North Dorset. Unfortunately, I hadn’t considered the fact that this was the worst time to organise a TeachMeet with all the exams taking place (a note for next time!) Nonetheless it was a great success with several teachers from all across the county and even one speaker coming down from London for the event. I have to thank all the people that came and the speakers for all their ideas that they shared. TeachMeets are fantastic and I hope they continue to grow as a ‘free’ CPD opportunity for teachers.
The next TeachMeet Dorset will be taking place at Downlands Community School, Blandford on October 11th (thank you to Alan Frame, Headteacher for organising this) – I hope to see some of you there! Look out for #TMDorset on twitter or tweet me your interest at @tiddtalk