Last year, I received an email.
The email was inviting me to present at the #LearningFirst Conference (a Dame Alison Peacock production), hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University, of which I am a product.
My initial responses were enthusiastic and eager, until one of the replies wanted to confirm my commitment. I was overcome with second thoughts. My replies ceased.
Cut to a few weeks later, where my response of acceptance had been top of my list of things to do.
"I've been following your Twitter and reading your blog for ages. You've got some great stuff coming out!" I felt immediately calmer, everyone was so welcoming!
I walked into a room (where the biscuits were kept) to see that people had actually signed up to see me, and the list was growing!?! I can't describe how strange that feeling was. (I hope it was worth seeing!?!)
I listened to Doctors, Senior Leaders, well-travelled researchers and authors. People whose papers I'd read, or videos I'd watched. There was a strong sense of community in the room; strength in ownership.
1pm. Workshop time. People walked in. I'm proud of myself for not passing out instantly. I'm still shocked they were there. With a limit on each workshop, we were at full capacity.
Thank you so much to everyone at #LearningFirst for their kind words of encouragement and support. I want to have another go, just so I can right my wrongs:
- To the delightful people who came to my workshop, thank you for your smiling faces, laughing at the right times, and your unwavering patience while I stumbled through my thoughts. I apologise for getting on my SoapBox a little too often, I need to be more succinct, in order to share more of the best strategies I have seen across my schools.
- I have no idea why I made a point of asking for your permission to take photographs and then not take any. That was dumb. Equally, I explained that I wanted your anecdotes and stories, yet didn't give you a chance to speak! That's so rude.
- You know when, typically after an argument, you think of so many better ways to say something? That was my entire evening. Of the five strategies I shared, I'm going to post the videos, notes and resources in 5 separate blogs in the near future. There were a few questions about my Assessment System and classroom design which I'll happily answer, and I'll gather more examples to clarify.
To all the names on my sign-up sheet...
To the likes of Kerry Jordan-Daus (for the best hugs), Mary Myatt (whose voice I could listen to for hours), Binks Neate-Evans (whose presentation on learning from the Early Years was one of my highlights), Ruchi Sabharwal (one of most encouraging speakers I've ever heard), Lucy Rimmington (telling it like it is), Julie Lilly (for whooping at my name during the role call) and Dame Alison Peacock (who was the best first person to be greeted by as I walked in)...
Learning has no limits. And, slowly, I'm discovering that neither do I!
Thank you! Mr N. x