I’m inspired. And I’m lucky.
I’m inspired because from a very vague idea about exploiting the wave of change about to wash through New South Wales from the swell of the Australian Curriculum. The way to exploit it?.. Piggyback a bunch of teachmeets that can actually encourage teachers to share ideas for teaching and learning rather than focus solely on content. I am already involved in some groups and events delivering ideas on new or renewed content areas and that’s great too. But, more importantly, teachers need a forum in which to share their ideas and spark new experiences in the classroom (and beyond) without the constraints of content chaining them down to the typical conversation about what we are teaching rather than how or who we are teaching.
In Sydney a keen bunch of educators are inspiring me by their keen interest and leadership of four bigger-than-normal teachmeets. Each of these are anchored or flavoured to be themed to one of the four key subject areas that will steamroll across NSW schools from 2014. English, Maths, Science and History will form the background music for quick-fire presentations that challenge our pedagogical and learning-focused theories and practice. This is inspiring. Teachers of all subject areas are actually being encouraged to present as there is plenty of room at each of the venues for ideas to fly thick and fast throughout the brief time the teachers will have together.
I’m also lucky. Lucky to have several amazing people in my PLN who are happy to take up the various roles needed to make these more complex teachmeets happen with as little confusion or angst on the night as possible.
A normal teachmeet need only be a small number of people in a pub having a conversation, but these larger events allow more people to share more ideas in a different space to what teachers are used to. English at the Sydney Theatre Company, History at the State Library of NSW, Science at Taronga Zoo… these are all spaces where teachers can break rules and challenge ideas without feeling constricted but be supported by a larger number of colleagues than usual.
There are three things a teacher can take away from a teachmeet: a new idea, a new colleague or some inspiration. Hopefully those who take part are able to carry all three with them and keep the buzz going.
TeachMeet Sydney is just the front for a dedicated and informal network of teachers who volunteer their time, energy and creativity to providing the physical and mental space for collaboration. I am inspired and I am lucky to be a part of it. And I want you to be a part of it to!