Here’s a lovely piece from @ModernCassie reflecting on her trip to #BrewEdWimbledon – give her a follow if you haven’t yet and be sure to check out her blog at moderncassie.blogspot.com
Being in this job role has meant I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to talk a bit more. Collective Worship, Church services, NPQH courses and then the fabulous New Voices event last year. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity that New Voices gave me, a chance to share the experiences of working in a Special Measures school and the journey that had taken place so far. Aside from that, it was amazing to listen to other people share their career highs and lows, ideas, knowledge and humorous anecdotes. The varied and wide-ranging topics was staggering and there was a natural ease when conversing with people during and after the event, meeting people that shared their opinions, free from judgement or reprisal. Being in a pretty remote part of the circuit, it felt like a real moment to relish.
Fast forward to this year and I was privileged to be asked to speak at BrewED Wimbledon. I admit, I wasn’t sure what I was going to talk about. I wasn’t sure I had a story worth telling, but knowing that I had an opportunity to spend time with some people I really admired and respected and some that just made me grin, I was looking forward to it. The great thing about BrewED events are that they are laid back. Nothing corporate, no-one trying to sell you something, no speaker rooms or hierarchy. There truly is room within education for everything and everyone, however and whenever they want to engage with it.
Despite the nerves, I was instantly put at ease by the smiling faces, some familiar and some not. A real mix of people was great, from many different sectors and all present for their own reasons. There was a feeling that people genuinely love their jobs – living and breathing opportunities to reflect and improve practice, or just to chat with a pint (or cuppa!) in an almost therapeutic way.
Twitter is great; it initially connects people in a unique way, sometimes harmoniously, often aggressively but always fleeting. The real richness is still in face-to-face connection. I think it’s really important that we, as educators, are flying the flag for real, human connection, and BrewEd is one way that this is demonstrated beautifully.
Everyone who spoke had a deep connection with their topic, and that was made more personal with the message that nothing would be directly quoted on social media. This was really important for many of us, and allowed the speakers and audience to share, in more detail, and more emotion than they may have planned. One thing that really resonated was the common theme of improvement. How do we make things better? How do we move forward? How do we support our children more? It was comforting and reassuring that, despite being from all over the country, teaching or working with all ages and having differing agendas, views or insights… everything was underpinned by making things better for the young people in our care.
Thank you to all those people giving up their time to arrange, attend and speak at these events.
“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” W.James.