This unbelievable experience started on Thursday evening at #TMClevedon. After a five hour train journey, a taxi to the wrong hotel, a taxi to the right hotel and a taxi to Clevedon School, I arrived late but excited. I knew why I was there. I had a clear agenda to lap up the positivity of the event (well done @ICTevangelist #spanglish) and to make people from my twitter feed come to life! I love Teach Meets for that. I have never felt the need to ask myself why I am there because I know the answer; I’m there because I really care!
Really caring is the very same reason that I wanted to be at the Big Day Out (#BDO) the following day. I made the 7am breakfast and arrived, brimming with excitement for what was about to be an absolutely world class, inspirational day! Once again, I knew exactly why I was there; I wanted to be inspired by the amazing presenters: the legend that is Ian Gilbert, the hilarious Dave Keeling, the inspiring Vic Goddard(Educating Essex), the lazy, but amazing Jim Smith, the Goddess that is Jackie Beere, the brilliant Jonathan Lear and the magnificent Dave Harris. If given the opportunity, who wouldn’t want to be there? It was amazing.
After experiencing the seminars of the awe inspiring minds that are Stephanie Austwick,Phil Beadle and my new best friend Hywel Roberts (author of Oops! #amazeballs), I still felt confidently able to answer that question. This amazing event allows educators like me to buzz about teaching and learning; it gives us ideas and challenges that we are able to use to be better at our jobs. We are all there to learn from the best to be better ourselves.
And then it is back to reality on Monday.
How many of us were there on Friday for the right reasons, to buzz, to learn, to develop but are about to go back to school and put that notepad away, promising ourselves that we will look at it later but never quite finding the time? Dave Harris, author of Brave Heads, closed the show warning us to “take action,” to avoid being passive and really do something with the ideas we have been given but how many of us actually will? We might take action on Monday with an inspired idea; we might even follow it on into the next week but how long will it be before the daily grind drags us back to reality?
If you were there and this sounds like a possibility for you, ask yourself why? Not just why you were there (as mentioned earlier, the reason for that is blindingly obvious) but why are you here? Why are you doing what you are doing? Why do you teach? What made you apply for that PGCE, that GTP, that Open University course? I bet it wasn’t just to get angry about the amount of marking you have this week or to wing lessons because you didn’t have time to properly plan (and no one is observing you today anyway).
For me, to teach came from a burning desire to do it better than my teachers did. I wanted to use my love of creativity to build a better way of educating kids. Teacher training tried to kick that out of me with monotonous, unplanned lectures about behaviour; however, hopefully I have stayed true to that core vision. Seven years ago, this vision for what I might achieve was to take place in my room only. I thought changing the experiences of the kids in my room was as far as I could go. How wrong I was.
A new chapter has begun. The room I found myself in this morning was filled with Independent Thinking Associates and Ian Gilbert has asked me to become one of them! As I looked around the room from amazing person to amazing person, I asked myself that question Why am I here? How on earth have I landed this? Any minute they are going to turn on me and tell me I was the ‘pull a pig.’ I was just there to laugh at. Luckily that never happened but it didn’t stop the self doubt that was enveloping my hung over mind.
So why was I there? After leaving that room today, the words of Mr Harris remained burning in my mind and I intend to use what I have gained from this awesome experience to “take action.” The reason I was in that room today wasn’t because I am a God like the others. I am nothing special. I am not super human. I do my job very well and I care about what I do. I don’t want to be worshiped like I worship these greats. I don’t want masses of lipstick and crumbs on my butt for what I do. I do want to make a difference. Why are you here?