I was asked to write a blog to help promote an internal TeachMeet for TeachFirst participants in the North East. Here is the result.
Collaboration is a word that is used extensively by those involved in any sort of managerial role, indeed it was repeated with alarming regularity in my most recent MA assignment in a vain effort to give it the managerial ‘buzz word’ tone. Teach First certainly love the concept, as we all know, as do (in theory at least) the management teams of the schools that we work in. The sheer ubiquity of this term has led to its true value being undermined by people who say they are being collaborative, in order to appear on paper as good leaders, when in fact they are not. However, in a profession such as teaching, collaboration is one of the most important skills to have. With an ever increasing work load, finding time to innovate, improve and progress is difficult yet by having many minds to collaborate with greatly increases your ability to do this – and to enjoy teaching again.
The easiest way to access collaborative CPD is through Twitter. I was encouraged to join Twitter for educational research by another Teach First participant, Fiona McGregor (@mc_fi) and have not looked back since. Following other teachers from around the country provides me with daily ideas and access to blogs that have radically changed how I think about teaching and learning and thus my classroom practice. Whilst on Twitter, I was introduced to the concept of TeachMeets, which colleagues on Twitter found immensely valuable as another, informal, way to collaborate and share good practice. Intrigued by this idea, a colleague from my school (my mentor last year) and I formed a team to create our own TeachMeet Takeover of a whole staff briefing. This was an opportunity for staff across departments to share good practice, innovation and time savers with members of staff that they may otherwise not have shared with. Although it was nerve-wracking to stand as a junior member of staff and present to a very experienced staff body, it was a brilliant meeting. I gained a multitude of new ideas and staff who had been teaching for a while were intrigued by the input from NQT and trainee teachers. Listening to ideas from other departments was fantastic as they often provided a new approach to my own subjects of English and History.
I am now collaborating (there’s that word again) with my LDO to produce a TeachFirst NE TeachMeet for our 11, 12 and 13 cohorts, both Primary and Secondary. I genuinely can’t wait to see the presentations from other participants and to gain fresh ideas for the end of the term as well as for September.