I only attended my first Teachmeet a year ago and I would already have difficulty telling you how many I’ve attended. They vary from small gatherings in cafes and taverns to highly corporate events with huge production values and bags of prizes. The things that tend to be the same are the reasons I’ve attended so many in the last year…
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the phrase “If you only take one thing away…” but it’s often used for a reason. Every Teachmeet has a stack of presenters freely sharing ideas they have used in their practice. Some you may have come across but they’re shown in a new way, some a reminder of things you haven’t done for a while and some brand new sparkly ones.
Or as I like to call it…meeting interesting people. Most people go to a Teachmeet in their local area; making it a great way to build a professional network of passionate educators you can draw on for advice, support and to bounce ideas off. You never know…you may even make new friends. I tend to look confused at these things as I’m processing so many ideas but feel free to come over for a chat.
It’s not just hearing about ideas; many presenters are kind enough to offer links to their work, further resources and share their recommendations if you want to find out more about what they’ve shared. Even the most low tech will generally send you a copy of their resources by email if you ask politely.
There are a huge number of professional trainers and speakers I have immense respect for. I believe there’s real value to be had from formal training courses, but it’s a special thing to hear from “real” teachers who are facing challenges and sharing their solutions.
It’s scary to get in front of your fellow educators and say “Hey, look at me, this is what I do!” but it is a great experience. The audiences are just like you so they don’t judge or think you’re being arrogant; they realise you’re just putting some ideas out there for others to think about. It doesn’t mean that everyone will like your ideas or agree with them, but I’ve yet to see a negative response to someone brave enough to share. The presenters aren’t saying theirs is the only way, just what they’ve tried. So if you’re in two minds I really recommend having a go; my favourite presentations are often from first timers sharing how they do what they do.
I’ve been fed like a king, had free bars, came home with goody bags of toys for my son and won books and electronic subscriptions. I’ve seen a fair few people go home with a free iPad. All of which for free; I’m not saying that that’s reason enough to go to a Teachmeet, it’s all about the learning, however it is the icing on the pedagogical cake.
Link to Teachmeets I’ll be attending in the near future… https://ikonoklaste.wordpress.com/teachmeets/
Recommend reading; @ICTEvangelist on Making the most of your First Teachmeet: http://ictevangelist.com/getting-teachmeet/
If you need persuading to present take a look at this by @TeamTait : http://seniorleaders.co.uk/teachmeets-and-the-super-heroes-of-education/