Monday, 7 November 2011

Teachmeet Sydney - Please try it! We don't want SAME.

 Click here: What is teach meet?

The screen shots above are a result of a question posed to my PLN (professional learning network) regarding Cybersafety in-servicing for students.  A friend (who is not on Twitter) enquired about guest speaker suggestions and so I sent out a tweet. The suggestions above are only 8 or so out of about 15 responses.  Instant. All in about 30mins and some the following day. This to me is true collaboration - in an effective way.  I have meet all but two of these tweeple at teachmeets and value their input. These personal relationships are a result of my online social network (twitter) whom I may never have meet, if it were not for the contacts made within the Twitter family. I first heard of Teachmeet through Twitter and decided to go along and take a look what the fuss was all about- I am glad I did!

Teachmeet Sydney is really do it yourself PD.  A chance to be inspired, learn and grow. A chance to debrief, make contacts and most importantly, BELONG to a dynamic, enthusiastic and caring bunch of educators.

I wonder what you felt when you read "do it yourself". You see, I really believe as a profession we need to keep moving and keep learning.  That is our game. That is what we encourage our students to do. However,  educators can get stuck in routine.  The same topics for the same KLA (Key learning Area) presented by the same teaching staff, via the same lessons, year in year out.

We don't want same.  We want YOU. We want your thoughts, your ideas, your interpretation, your way of learning. Who are we? We are educators and students who have been hoping, waiting and trialling ways to ignite the passion of learning, back into education. Of course, there are MANY educators and classes that are inspiring daily. And others that are not.

We all learn differently. We all process and create differently.  That difference may have been hard to manage in schools of the past.  Hopefully, more educators will sense and see the value in this shift from teacher directed lessons to student focused learning.  I am still bemused by how little schools actually teach learning skills, thinking skills, management skills, resilience, cyber-safety and organisational skills. They may give a token presentation once or twice a year but this is not enough.

Just as students are conditioned that teachers will provide the content and manage its delivery and assessment, so too are many teachers conditioned that their workplace will provide all relevant support and PD.

Are you lucky enough to work in an environment where educators are:

   attentive to students needs and learning environments
   willing to adapt and change pedagogy as required by the learning group or subject presented
   open to suggestions
   proud of their working environment 
   proud AND content of their efforts and those of their students
   happy to engage in PD and continual dialogue about education and improvements
   happy to see what is NOT working and rectify?

I wonder how many teachers are "conditioned" or expect their HOD (heads of departments) to be responsible for their teaching affairs, reminders, programs, direction of learning, assessments and PD?  Is this why self efficacy evades many educators?  See pre-service teacher Lauren Forner's blog post on improving teaching through heightened self efficacy here.

As educators, it is up to us as professionals to be caring enough to invest the time into providing the best possible, engaging learning environments for our students.  That is the role of the teacher.  Attending teachmeets is one avenue to meeting this complex role.  Being an educator can be hectic, fast paced and emotionally draining.  True, but it also rewarding and satisfying.  It doesn't have to be isolating and confusing and thankless, due to a wonderful bunch of like minded educators that you can make contact with via teachmeets- if you choose.  

Just as we encourage students to extend their thinking and move out of their comfort zone, so too should we encourage other educators to get involved by attending teachmeets in their area in order to be connected, inspired, rejuvenated, share, think, grow and learn.  

Interesting thoughts on Getting others to dive in and play in the deep end:

I would also be interested in reading more on Steve's research:
(perhaps you can contact him with your thoughts and help him out?)

Steve Box
Pls help me with some research. What guides your choice in PD? How has twitter changed your professional learning? more

19 hours ago via web

Steve Box
How have teachmeets/edcamps/unconferences changed your learning experience? How important is your PLN?

Last week, I hosted the first ever HILLS teachmeet at Oakhill College.  I was privileged the school I work at granted me the opportunity to host this event on site, given our busy school calendar.  It was an amazing process to coordinate, cater and organise presenters.  I was very passionate about providing an opportunity for any willing educator to gather with other like minded professionals. All were welcome. Primary, secondary educators, HOD, principals from public, Catholic and private schools as well as directors of learning from DET all attended in one space with a common aim. This is the beauty of teach meets.  See the link below of the attendee comments, to gain further insight into a teachmeet experience.


There is always so much to learn and improve upon!
I hope to meet you at the next teachmeet.  
Jeannette James


  1. You were a fantastic host. I enjoyed it very much and I think everyone did.

    TeachMeets are certainly a fresh approach to professional development. It's great to hear what other teachers are doing and in so doing, be inspired and affirmed.

    Here's to more.

  2. Thank you Malyn. It was a great night and a great teacheat! I am very much looking forward to the XMAS teachmeet Abbotsleigh are hosting!

  3. So true, so many of us-and not just teachers might I add-rely on our workplace to provide us with the knowledge and skills we require to grow professionally. And yet we expect our students to become self regulated learners. It is so important for us to model our commitment to life long learning to our students through seeking out things like TeachMeet and twitter.

    Thanks for the plug too! It seems you and I were on the same wavelength today!

  4. Howdy Lauren,

    Some primary schools seem to be achieving the important shift towards self regulated learning. I hope High schools can see the value in moving away from standardised testing as their main assessment tool, teaching to the test and often outdated assessments towards assisting our young people to become self reliant, resilient, service orientated, inquisitive and positive members of society.

    I had been wanting to write a blog on Teachmeet again since last Monday but got bogged down in marking yearly exams and reporting.

    I am always wondering about positive deviance and motivation. What makes one take the road less travelled?

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I am looking forward to following your journey next year!

    Cheers, JJ

  5. Thanks for referencing my ponderings. My Contemporary Issues COnference paper is entitled 'When Sharing Best Practice is Best Practice Itself', so looking to find my critical frame. The twitterverse sure is a heck of a framing device.

  6. Best of luck Steve! Keep us informed of your findings.
    I look forward to following your work.