Northern Rocks: I have had smiles for miles which even sitting on the M25, couldn't take away. As a 'Southerner' (or as I was called yesterday a 'Cockney') let loose in Leeds, I have learnt much - and miraculously, despite almost missing my turn off to get home, only got lost on campus once! #uselesswithamap
My weekend got off to a great start with double (or treble) the CPD from @tlcnina @markanderson and @rorygallagher - the professional ideas being bounced around in the car were fantastic before we even got to Leeds, let alone the huge giggles at Nina's choice of song... YES - windows down and singing loud!!! Love it! Crazy Song - be warned. ;-) Staffrmers and fellow professionals meeting by choice and in our free time: full of enthusiasm and a love for our profession. You cannot beat it - poetry in motion.
The presentations were second to none Steven Tierney, Nina Jackson, Mark Anderson and Mary Myatt were my choices - all very relevant to my current focus and future journey and every one full of thought provoking, useful and inspiring content, to the point where I am feeling the need to blog about them separately. Next year I will need a clone to send off to the other presentations which I was not able to split myself in half for.
I have had several conversations about how we live in 2 worlds: the 'virtual' world of Twitter (and @staffrm - my favourite place for a cuppa and some sharing of thoughts) and the other, every day 'real' world where we go to work and meet challenges aplenty. The virtual world for me, is where I have found an amazing group of professionals - those who proudly confess to being passionate about their calling to make a difference. The real world is one where we try every day to make a positive impact on those around us - children and adults. It is also full of great professionals, but through it's very nature, it is filled with challenges.
This weekend my two worlds collided and the virtual became a reality. All the twitter handles became real people!! I realised that my little world has changed. If someone had said a year ago that it would be what it is I would not have believed it. And yet - here I am! I have a PLN that is simply outstanding. It offers learning, sharing and genuine enthusiasm. I take it with me every day and through it and because of it I grow and develop my practice. It makes my reality better and I am convinced this has a positive effect on my teaching, my outlook and my approach. It gives my world glitter and shine in a way I have never known. Beyond this, I have new friends. Friends who encourage me, who challenge my thinking, who support me and who share the same passion and love that I have. The virtual and the real have collided and I am loving what they have created.
Being at Northern Rocks has given me much to think about. I am on an adventure and the landscape is changing constantly. I have come away from the weekend with some questions to think about: what kind of leader will I be? What is my vision? What is my moral compass? How will I use digital tools to give impact and enhance learning? How will I inspire others to use them for the benefit of all the children? How will I inspire those I lead to think more about their purpose in the classroom? How will I give confidence and encouragement to those I lead? How will I ensure that those around me feel part of a valued and respected team?
I think much time will be spent this week thinking, discussing and considering with those I have much respect and admiration for. I know they will not mind my asking questions; I know they will happily challenge me where needed and share their own experiences. A hugely positive network that is in fact, very real. I do not know where my adventure will lead me but I am aware of the paths I need to consider and the signposts that I need to read. I am aware that the terrain will be hard going at times. I cannot change this. It is the nature of the beast. One thing I know without a shadow of a doubt, I am not alone. Far from it.
The message that rings loud and clear in my head comes from Mary Myatt: we are humans first, professionals second. This is true and I never want to forget that - for myself or others around me. We have a special gift as educators and we are willing to always go that extra mile to make a difference. We are not in this for the glory - we will strive to make an impact on all of our students, no matter what mountains we are given to climb. It means something.
Tonight I am energised. Full of excitement and enthusiasm. I have been to the heart of where the learning starts to take shape. It is an amazing thing to do: spend time with those who you have much respect for. To listen, talk, think, laugh and learn. To be positively reminded that you have found your calling, and even more importantly, found those that share it.
I think this week I will carry this thought with me as I work out the answers to my questions: ideas come from individuals but ideas develop when individuals come together - this is the magic of education. The untamed spirit of those that drive it is very real. As my two worlds have collided, as my own little world has grown, somehow, with it, so have I. Just the first step, but what a step to have made. This is where the development begins and where the effect of the CPD is seen. We will see where the adventure and where that untamed spirit will lead...it all starts here.
#NRocks thank you... the magic of CPD...