Lead, Learn, Lancs. Love, love, love!

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A Guest post by @MissVicki_V

“Continue on the M6 for 87 miles” was not the greatest thing to hear shortly after 06:30 this morning but Lead, Learn, Lancs more than made up for it. I made my way up north, leaving the blue skies behind me, for a day of Twitter eye spy and learning . I wasn’t disappointed!

I love opportunities to learn and I love the buzz of being around people who are as excited about learning as I am.  You don’t give up a Saturday unless you’re serious about your own development and the quality of learning happening in your classroom do you?  To be surrounded by people, who are all there to make teaching and learning better, more enjoyable and accessible is really kind of cool.  Heck, it’s actually pretty special. I didn’t contribute a thing today other than friendly chatter and the occasional cuddle (it’s funny how a simple handshake makes me feel a bit odd but if someone throws their arms around me I’m just fine) but I have taken away so much from my time there today.

I sat, I listened, I thought and I reflected. As the day went on ideas started to form in my mind. I thought about my teaching, how I assess and the quality of my lessons.  I know I’m not teaching the way I’d really like to, I’m not using the ideas for lessons I have scribbled in my journal and I know I lack a bit of passion for my subject. Today has made me consider again the impact this has on my learners and it makes me sad. I’ve said before how I know where I am and where I want to be and the more I hear and learn about truly good teaching and learning the bigger I feel that gap is becoming and the more frustrated I grow.

I loved Ben Davey’s discussion around mastery and questioning at what point out learners become masters. As he talked about approaches he has used to make learning pleasurable and meaningful I thought about how little of that I have done this year and when he told us about zombie day that was it! I started to think how brilliant that could be in my area – health and social care. We could do soooooo much:

  • consider health needs of those attacked by zombies
  • effective communication with zombies
  • assessing risk for health and safety
  • examine physiological aspects
  • infection control
  • debate the moral rights to provide health care to zombies
  • Oodles of opportunities to explore equality and diversity
  • The list could go on and on!

Then I thought how it would never be able to happen, at least on a large scale where I think it would be most effective (and most fun), and that may sound negative but sadly I know I wouldn’t get the buy-in to support the planning and execution. I can, however, use these ideas (and I started getting plenty) on a smaller scale within my own lessons and this is what I love about days like today. It doesn’t matter if I can’t do exactly the same as someone else because what I can do is take an idea and make it fit for me.

This is the very reason that a 06:30 road trip on a Saturday morning is so worthwhile! Ideas. Ideas everywhere!  The presenters were varied and we were spoilt for choice.

It was good to see FE represented by Carolyn O’Connor and along with Cherryl Kid  we had some food for thought about inclusion as we debated the advantages and disadvantages of SEND learners transitioning to mainstream FE settings. Dominic Traynor left me most surprised when I popped in expecting Zoella and literacy and was hit with something much deeper to consider! Martin Burrett (who I think I may have referred to as Mr Burrows – ??) entertained me brilliantly with his humour and  chocolate as well as giving me lots of tech ideas to take away and try to make my admin sexy! Stephen Tierney was just brilliant and everything he said made such sense – I would love to see his school in action. Natalie Scott closed the day by sharing her teaching journey with us and, as when I read her blog, I was inspired.

I was lucky to meet some Twitter folk too. It’s always nice to put a real face and a voice to those you tweet and a lovely feeling when you realise how great they are in real life too. I definitely made a new buddy or two today.

So now I’m sitting in my pjs, cuppa in hand, shattered but bubbling over with positivity and ideas. Thanks guys – job well done. Loved every minute!

@MissVicki_V Vicki V

FE at Halesowen College – health&social care. Interested in all things T&L. I like to squiggle.

This post was originally published on Vicki’s site and is reproduced here by kind permission of the author.