The Teachmeet Bug

Despite my initial eagerness to organise the first Astra Teachmeet, I must confess that just before the 16th April, the event was looming a little large and scary in my calendar.  Perhaps it was the pressure of ensuring that the Astra “party-bags” of freebies were beautifully assembled to reward our speakers and attendees?  Or maybe it was the challenge of ensuring a smooth running order of presenters?  It could even have been the concern about whether the library would be large enough to accommodate the throngs of eager teachers, wanting to share best practice and become inspired by innovative new ideas!

Bravely, the Astra team faced inevitable and last-minute “challenges”, such as losing our compere to food poisoning and the delayed delivery of the Astra mugs. Thankfully the Astra stress balls were already in so I could at least take my anxiety out on something! There was also the issue of the library booking clash with the Berlin information evening for parents (although I have to say, they would probably have enjoyed the Teachmeet too).  Most importantly, we remembered to order plentiful supplies of tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes for the evening, and had the technology team on standby “just in case”!

And the evening itself made all the pre-event nerves and little “re-organisations” worthwhile.

Our newly appointed compere, Mr Stuart Keen, took masterful and humorous control of proceedings, introducing our talented presenters from a range of schools, including the home-grown talent of Mr Millar (presenting on effective group work), Mr David Atkinson (Explain Everything) and Mrs Sally Pearmain (techniques of effective collaboration).  Happily, Mr Richard Gledhill also survived being (softly) pelted with two stress balls for exceeding his time limit when talking about using games in learning; as he also teaches PE, I’m glad he caught them both and kept his focus!

We were also delighted to welcome colleagues from further afield, including Mr Tim Dixon from Greenford High School in Ealing, who spoke about about his innovative new website ULAS, Mr Alex Wallace from RGS on his playing card pack of starters and learning techniques, and one of our fantastic Astra SLE’s, Ms Michelle Guy from The Misbourne, speaking about effective revision techniques.  Perhaps most impressively, a graduate from last year’s Astra School Direct programme, Mr Will Gunstone (also from The Misbourne School) presented with his colleague, Mr Jack Davidson, challenging us with mathematical problems in order to consider how we could help our students to take more control and ownership of their learning.  Listening to them deliver their joint presentation with such enthusiasm and energy made me feel certain I was looking at the leaders of the future.

So, having organised my first Teachmeet, I have now caught the TM bug, which I can assure you is a great deal better than food poisoning*. Mr Hopkins and I are already talking about a sequel in the Autumn term and we would love you - and your colleagues - to be involved either as presenters or audience members. 

In the meantime, if you want to stay in touch or find out more about TM2 and our other CPD opportunities, please use the links below to access our website, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or join us on Linkedin! 

We also hope to see you at our forthcoming 2015 Astra Conference on 2nd July - more details to follow soon.

Twitter:           @AstraAlliance

Facebook:     Astra-Alliance

Linkedin:       Astra Teacher Training

*Mr Cavanagh has now made a full recovery.

Stephanie Rodgers

Director, Astra Learning Alliance

View Images