I imagined that I would eventually reply, having so proudly told people I'd been invited, but be told it was too late. It was the perfect get-out clause to all the people I'd told about it, concealing my cowardly fear. However, the team at @BeyondLevels had other ideas, and I am so grateful they did! That very same day, I received another email, signalling that someone was still considering me. It was a sign. Firstly, of my apparent need to grow and pair and give it a go, and secondly that I might have something of value to contribute.
I arrived to hear someone call my name - it was Dave, my minder for the day.
"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.
Unsurprisingly, the workshop went by in a blur, but like all good nights out, it begins to come back to you the morning after.
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 everyone I met, sat with, ate chocolate with...
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