February 10, 2015 by dragonflytraining
Author: Lisa Jane Ashes, @lisajaneashes, The Learning Geek
Teachers are overworked and underpaid so why would they willingly give up their evenings and flock together to discuss teaching some more? Teachers are under constant pressure to hit targets, mark books, attend meetings, parent’s evenings, twilights… Yet, the teachmeet culture continues to flourish. Why?
Choice. On the whole, teachers in attendance have chosen to give up their time. The speakers have chosen to share. The organisers have chosen the date and the attendees have chosen to turn up. Other than the time limit (used to allow as many speakers as possible a chance to speak) “the rules are there ain’t no rules” and, for most teachers, this is a breath of fresh air.
Teachmeets are the positive staffroom that we all wish existed at school. While the mood hoovers are at home, scowling into their TVs and wishing for the weekend, teachers who choose to attend are smiling together. That’s not to say you are a mood hoover if you don’t attend. There are so many teachmeets, you can take your pick or you can happily not attend any at all. Those who do attend, want to be there and that is what makes the atmosphere so special. Faces may still look tired after a long day of school but they’re smiling, laughing, socialising and sharing.
When a teachmeet remains grassroots, teachers teaching teachers, professional dialogue, not born out of a fear of Ofsted’s arrival but born from a love of teaching, a magical atmosphere is created. The first big Pedagoo event took place in Glasgow 2012 and I was absolutely hooked by the positivity that was felt by all that day. Every event I have created since has been developed with that feeling still warm in my heart.
Whether your teachmeet is three teachers getting together to share ideas over lunch or three hundred people coming together to enjoy perfectly polished presentations, as long as attendees are there out of choice, as long as contributors are there to share educational ideas, as long as the whole thing remains about teachers teaching teachers and taking their professional development into their own hands, it’s a teachmeet. Teachers may be overworked and underpaid but that won’t stop our enthusiasm for our own learning and professional development.