A few years ago I used to go to TeachMeets all the time. I really enjoyed them because they were great opportunities to meet like-minded teachers and educationalists who wanted to share the good practice from their classrooms. I have fond memories of my first-ever TeachMeet, at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle. I also remember the few TeachMeet North Easts (or should it be TeachMeets North East?) that took place in the Digital Lounge at the Tyneside Cinema. Both small, intimate venues where you had the chance to speak to most people who were there and find out about what’s going on in their classrooms.
But then I stopped going to TeachMeets. They changed. They became so much more corporate with sponsors’ goodie bags full of marketing rubbish. They had (paid) keynote speakers and paid-for raffles. They were ENORMOUS with 400+ people in attendance. Supply agencies often had a presentation slot to talk about their services in exchange for their pecuniary sponsorship of the event. In essence, they had become more like a formal conference than a casual unconference. One even charged £10 for tickets. This wasn’t the kind of TeachMeet that I enjoyed going to.
So I’ve done the only thing I could: I’m organising my own TeachMeet. A back-to-basics TeachMeet. No corporate sponsors pushing their services in your face, no keynote speakers and no expensive raffles. Along with the fantastic Darren Mead (@DKMead – appearing courtesy of the Two Jumps Learning Trust), a fantastic evening of low-key sharing of good practice has been organised. And where better to do it than upstairs in one of Tyneside’s most iconic pubs, The Cumberland Arms on the edge of the Ouseburn Valley. It’s on Thursday 7th May 2015 from 7pm-9pm, meaning that you can have a great night of sharing and still be home in time to find out if we’ll be subject to another 5 years of coalition hell!