It was about five years ago that I had my first Teachmeet, you never forget your first time. You sit nervously at a table feeling a bit out-of-place and wondering what to expect.
You have been used to training days where breaks are strictly timetabled and speakers go on a bit. So all this informality and abnormally interesting CPD Is a bit weird, even if its s peppered with the odd lame duck of a talk, but hey that is Teachmeet. I went with my good friend and colleague Nicholas Hughes, he a gaming geek and ICT AST, me an ICT Consultant. After trudging around BETT all day, eating overpriced sandwiches, sweating through our Doctor Who T Shirts and looking for the next new thing we were glad of somewhere to sit and unwind.
The evening was compared by Ewan Macintosh, who I now understood was part of Teachmeet when it was just a few drinks and sharing teaching anecdotes in a pub, rather than the brand it is now. I don’t remember everything that was said or many of the speakers, but I do remember that there was a real buzz in the room . Here was gathered a group of teachers, advisers and some commercial guys who wanted to talk about education and ICT. it was greatly encouraging and affirming and the passion from the speakers showed that this stuff mattered. One such speaker was Derek Robertson, he spoke about Games Based Learning, before many of us had heard about it. I turned to Nicholas and said we need this in our borough, even though most of my gaming had been on my spectrum and I thought that a Gameboy was cutting edge.
We went back to Redbridge and managed to get ourselves a set of Nintendo DS consoles, someone called Dawn Hallybone bid successfully to use them and the rest is history.
From that one Teachmeet so many doors opened up for me. I met many great people who I now count as friends, albeit most of them I only ever speak to on Twitter. I also invited Ewan to Redbridge to host our own Teachmeet and have since been involved in 3-4 subsequent Teachmeets in East London. I am sure the spirit and enthusiasm of others I met at this and further Teachmeets has stayed with me and spurred me on to experiment with new tech or encourage others to do so.
So do I write this to brag and self promote? – no not at all . I wanted to just get down on a blog post what Teachmeet means to me and why I think you should do your best to try to attend one. I am hoping that the one at Bett this year will be great and inspirational. The networking is always fantastic, and it is brilliant to meet people who you may have only tweeted to and put faces to avatars. But, I hope the content of the speakers will inspire us too and for that to happen you need to be brave and step up and share the thing you did in your class, which may not seem cutting edge to you but could inspire or affirm someone else.
And of course in my experience you need to be at Teachmeet as you never know where it might take you.