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Our teaching experience is much richer when we share and get fresh ideas and perspectives from others
By and large, teachers are a very creative bunch of people. There's a lot of scope for creativity even in the most prescriptive unit. It's all in the delivery. When the pressures in life compound, they can squeeze the creative life out of us when we have to meet deadlines, validation and ‘show continuous improvement'. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. However, looking for small windows of opportunity to spark that creative and innovative part of ourselves can be closer than we think.
Recently I organised the first Central Coast TeachMeet. TeachMeets have been happening all around Australia now for the last three years. They are free professional development evenings organised by teachers for teachers. These events are organised to encourage, inspire, support, present and network with other like-minded teachers who want to share what's working in their classrooms, schools and TAFE colleges. The Central Coast TeachMeet involved teachers making presentations of either two or seven minutes. The night was divided into two parts, 40 minutes and about 10 presenters each session. The richness of the sharing was amazing and all teachers went away with free resources, ideas and new connections.
Such was the outpouring of support for the event that we'll be having another one in March 2014. Starting a grassroots event hasn't been easy. In an ever increasingly busy world it's much harder to go it alone than to have a whole group of teachers providing support and encouragement. Stepping out of my comfort zone to get feedback from teachers from different schools and organisations gave me a fresh perspective on what I've been doing. Just knowing that others were facing the same struggles helped me feel less alone in mine.
When I first went into teaching I wanted to help students. I fundamentally wanted to make a difference. So TeachMeet fitted in well with my own personal philosophy about teaching. Sharing my resources and experiences not only benefits the students that I teach directly, but through other teachers I engage with at TeachMeet I can have an impact on students I'll never even know. This is why sharing is so important. Our teaching experience is much richer when we share and get fresh ideas and perspectives from others.
If you would like to organise a TeachMeet then please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.