Shakespeare without the Spit

I have been seeing the phrase 'teachmeet' on Twitter for the past two years without really taking the time to see what it's all about. I assumed it was just one of those buzz words or fads (see @teahertoolkit's latest post) that infect teaching occasionally. Historically a teacher would be trained then let loose on their classes with little or no CPD. My father, a retired D&T teacher claims to have never been on a course in his career. In my 6 years of teaching I have attended courses, some good and some awful, and taken part in Diocesan Leadership training, as well as NPQML. However all of this extra training has been voluntary, in fact I search out opportunities rather than them being placed before me.
Courses invariably cost money, my school buys into the REAL trust in Rochdale, as well as the added cost of supply cover, the disruption to my class... The list goes on. With school budgets falling 'faster than since 1950' (BBC News, 2016), is it any wonder that teachers are lacking in relevant up-to-date training?
Frustrated, I have found myself increasingly turning to Twitter to quench my thirst for learning: new ideas, techniques, resources. My colleagues no longer ask where my methods come from any more and I sense a virtual roll of the eyes when I use the T word. Following a variety of educators from around the world (David Didau, Ross Morrison McGill, Tom Bennett etc) has expanded my teaching horizons with the only cost being my time. Do you include the use of Twitter in a CV? However, watching a play from the back isn't the same as a front-row ticket: what is Shakespeare without a little spit?
A trip to Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire is rarely in 500 places to see before you die, and probably graces few bucket lists, but it proved a day in Nirvana for me. Lead Learn Lands 2016 allowed me to see some amazing educational speakers first hand, some of whom I had admired from afar for a while, some who I hadn't heard of but now follow with interest. This was joining the dots between my twitter CPD and real life, and I left covered in metaphorical spit and a brain bursting with ideas.
After such an event the next logical step is taking part: being the actor and contributing my own spit (am I over-using this analogy?). I'm attending a TeachMeet in my own little home town of Rammy and I've volunteered to take a slot. I'm looking forward to hearing some local professionals who are as engaged in teaching and learning as I am, and hopefully my presentation will come across well (more on that in a subsequent post).
When it comes to CPD, to paraphrase the X-Files, there is truth out there. But don't wait for someone to book you on that course, rather do the running yourself.


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