There’s always too much to do in schools and colleges and universities and too many people who need a slice of us. And when we look beyond our classroom or office walls there are too many possible events to attend, too many people to follow on twitter, and too many commands from above. It is exhausting isn’t it? We try to stay on top of it, we try to stay sane and we try to stay optimistic. Afterall we got ourselves into our jobs for the best possible of reasons; to make a difference and to be part of a dynamic professional world. Some-days though we genuinely feel like closing the door, hiding in the cupboard, shutting down the email and never ever reading another education headline.
So, on your busiest days and when the job just feels a bit too much you probably do not prioritise deciding to attend a conference. Even if you found the prospect of the event interesting you might decide that asking someone else for the day out and the conference costs is just too much to do today, and if you are the CPD budget holder you probably don’t often spend it on yourself. If this is one of those days, then just lend me two more minutes of your time to read to the end of this blog and consider whether our CollectivED conference might be the one you make an exception for.
Our conference is going to be a bit different to most, and yes, I know everyone says that, but I do believe it is true. Here’s why;
- Our theme is ‘creating powerful professional learning through re-thinking coaching, mentoring and collaborative leadership in education’. It’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it? But think about it for a minute.We all spend time talking to, working alongside and supporting the development of colleagues. We have benefitted from that same experience ourselves. We have also had times when we have called into question the value of what is asked of us; the dodgy protocols for lesson observation, the mentor that seemed keener to put the role on their CV than to put the effort into the role, the coach that ended up mixing up coaching with performance management, the senior leader who talked about developing others but found they just couldn’t let go.Our conference will be a place where we provide real evidence from real settings about how to take professional learning back to the profession in a way that is empowering and inclusive.
- Our format is a bit different too.We start of with a joint keynote from two Professors, who will provide research and practice-based insights into coaching and mentoring. They may not fully agree on everything, but then we all know that schools, colleges and universities are complex places in which formulaic practices rarely work, so there is always room for debate. Our expert contributors will each host knowledge exchange roundtable discussions in which they will share the details of their work and invite participants to make contributions on the theme and engage in dynamic conversations. We also have a conference writer who will be capturing the essence of the day, engaging with participants to dig around in their thinking, and will draw together our event with our conference short story. If you click on our weblink you will find out more about who our contributors are and what they will each be bringing to the day.
- Our participants are a bit different too.At CollectivED we are building a truly inclusive community of educators with a shared commitment to professional learning.We are looking forward to welcoming participants from nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, as well as from further and higher education and from the freelance world. Some will be teachers, some will be CPD co-ordinators, some school leaders, some advisors, some mentors, some coaches, some teacher educators, some teachers, some researchers and some others will no doubt be wearing multiple hats.The resulting conversations will bring together experience, expertise and opinions from across the educational sector. It is those conversations that we know professionals learn so much from, they allow fresh thinking, they challenge us to get out of our comfort zone and they remind us that we have more in common as educators than raging headlines and social media might have us believe.
We are really excited about our conference. We look forward to welcoming people who are equally excited and committed to their roles and to each other as professionals. Will you be with us?
For details of the venue (Birmingham), the timings (it’s not the very early start we all dread), the date (Independence Day) and our contributors (honestly - they are all brilliant) please take a look here.