Before I begin (although I suppose I've technically already started), I'd like to stay a massive thank you for such a positive response about the third year of teachmrn.com! You can catch up on last week's posts here and here!
There are now even more ways to stay connected and engage with our growing community. Use the buttons below to stay in touch through whatever channels you choose; I love hearing from you, and feedback is always welcome!
While we are still in a period of catching up with each other, I wanted to tell you a story. In my post last week, I told you that I'd learnt about my demographic, and that I was keen to find out about my audience. Here's where it all started...
Back in September I was proud to be asked to deliver a workshop at Learning First Greenwich. As per usual, the nerves were sky-high, yet I was so pleased to be invited.
In whatever capacity you attend these weekend CPD events, you can't help but learn. There's something extremely empowering about a group of people getting together - by choice - to share ideas and come to a common understanding.
Each time I've been asked to complete a workshop or lecture, I've come away with something new. Be that about the content, public speaking, creating relationships, anything. And this was no different.
On this occasion I learnt about energy. I wasn't as dynamic as I'd have liked, and it was one of those moments, where to switch it up half way through, would have been strange. I was disappointed with my performance, staying seated the entire time. I wouldn't do that with my class, so why would I do that with adults who had chosen to be there? What's more, I hadn't done that in any of my previous workshops or lectures.
Develop reading skills with my app, Booked! Click the image for more information and FREE resources!
Despite my own personal feeling towards it, I was so appreciative for the feedback. I received such generous tweets from people that attended, and I'm still extremely thankful (give them a follow if you haven't already done so!). In times of fear and nerves, they're so encouraging.
However, upon our return to the Lecture Hall for the rest of the Keynote speeches, we were handed an Evaluation Form. The layout of the day was in two halves: one workshop in the morning, one in the afternoon, and keynotes sprinkled throughout. This meant I got to attend a workshop, as well as deliver my own (I'll tell you about the one I attended another time because it was fascinating). The evaluations were handed out, and over the shoulder of the participant in front of me, I observed them write this:
"The *first workshop* I attended was extremely useful. Unfortunately, Mr N's was not."
Months on, I still remember it word for word, and I'm so grateful. For in that moment, I learnt the most:
Firstly, that you will never be able to please everyone, and you have no option but to accept that.
Secondly, there will be opinions out there that you may never know, but you may be able to make a positive change if you seek them out.
Thirdly, knowledge about your audience is key, because then you can make reasonable adaptations.
Moving forward, and from my experiences to far, I know my audience is looking for a positive spin, to be uplifted. They may be trainees, qualified teachers, or ANYONE with an interest in education, looking for ideas that may not have occurred to them. But then really, aren't we all? The critique comes from the fact this participant likely thought they were being told things they already knew, but that's the gamble of attending.
In life, not just teaching, a thick skin is paramount. Resilience is an easy word to throw around, but I think it's only developed through putting yourself in situations where you are required to have one. It may bruise to begin with, but that's where the development comes in. It can't always be learnt via a series of pretend scenarios, a 'what-would-you-do-if?'
I'm so thankful for every piece of feedback and advice I am given. I am able to use it to progress and be even more successful. We shouldn't shy away from risks out of fear of criticism. We should relish the chance to better ourselves by trying something new. This learning is going to become even more useful as I take my next few steps.