By Helen Wilson
In November, things always seem to get hard. The days seem so short – it is always dark before you leave the school and it always seems to rain. Everyone and everything starts to become a bit annoying; there are controlled assessments to worry about, year 11 mocks, parents’ evenings and just more and more “stuff to do”. We all become…. well, let’s be honest… cranky.
And then you get the Beaumont TeachMeet – the antithesis of November for teachers. Everyone seems to arrive with a spring in their step, catching up with old friends and new; finding out what people who you’ve only met in twitter chats look like; getting to a seat and finding a “goody bag” with both chocolate AND stationery inside; listening and talking to people who just love everything about teaching and learning.
The Beaumont TeachMeet November 2014 started with Emma Hillman from Fredrick Bremer School talking about what the experience of being on “Educating the East End” had meant for the school and what they had learnt from it. The stories were funny and entertaining. They showed us why we all love “the best job in the world” and how much we all need to celebrate the diversity of all our students.
A variety of short talks followed (we’ll try and get some of the presentation slides here on the blog as soon as we can) with subjects as diverse as “The T&L Challenge videos” (thanks Michael) and “How teachers can best support each other through this long, dark half term (thank you Emma Kell from Francis Coombe Academy in Watford). This latter presentation really struck a chord with many – in the short break between presentations, Emma was inundated with requests for her tips after she had suggested that those struggling to juggle parenthood and teaching may like to share their ideas with her.
The TeachMeet ended with the opportunities for everyone to choose a short seminar to attend. Again the range of topics and issues to choose from was wide – Engaging learners; What to do with the weakest readers; Lazy links; The value of DIRT; Raising the profile of your department; and “Is life as a teenager really more stressful now than it was for us?”. We all welcomed the chance to spend time talking about ideas and issues in such a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
A huge thank you goes to Jo Cavanagh for organising the Beaumont TeachMeet. As a T&L team, we love having the chance to take time out of dark, dreary November to share ideas and an evening with so many like-minded teachers.