TeachMeet 2017

20 February 2017

TeachMeet: Spotlighting the Educational Leaders of Tomorrow

St Mary’s now has hosted its second annual student TeachMeet, a popular and growing tradition in the College. Two hundred students filled the College Hall for this high-energy event which students themselves organised to showcase each other’s “best practice” as student teachers. Known as a type of “unconference”, it has the feel more of a “flash mob” rather than a stuffy, formal, academic conference. Prizes are won, presentations are short and snappy and tea and buns are available. No one even knows who is going to speak next, as a wheel is spun announcing the next person to come up and share his or her best tip based on experiences in the classroom.

“The message has been getting out that TeachMeet is an event certainly not to be missed if you are looking for help with School Experience”, says Matthew Martin, a Senior Lecturer in English who has been lending his support to the venture. “But more importantly, the message is hitting home that presenting your own work—sharing your experience with others—is just as important. Initial Teacher Education is no longer just about what you can achieve on your own: it’s about developing the leadership skills that allow you to bring everyone else along with you. The energy at these events is incredible, largely because the students are so appreciative of the genuinely brilliant work their peers have been developing.”

Fourth-year student Leah Fay, one of the event’s organisers and the Students’ Union Academic Officer, said of the occasion: “It’s invaluable not only for first-year students to learn from those who are more experienced but for everyone to hear what everyone else gets up to while out in schools. Students are doing innovative things inside and outside the classroom, and we all need to keep in touch to stay up to date.”

One final-year student, Laura Daly, could not be present at the TeachMeet due to another commitment—but that didn’t deter her. She gave her presentation remotely and virtually while busy elsewhere. Her talk, which focused on learning how to work with a class teacher, included details of her experiences with a variety of types of class teacher and advice on how to make the most of that relationship.

Colleen Conway incorporated her own final-year research project into her presentation, as she displayed a beautiful children’s book she had written on the topic of autism and inclusion. Once she had directed participants’ attention to the importance of inclusion as a vital issue in working with autistic pupils, participants began discussing ways to place orders for the book in order to make use of it themselves with their own classes.

The numbers keep growing for this event, as does the enthusiasm. Be ready to book your place for next year’s TeachMeet!

There is more to School Experience than what happens in the classroom!
Chloe Judge presents her experience of running a fitness class for the staff in her placement school.

Kevin McKernan talks about coping with School Experience while juggling commitments with home life.

Pearce Knocker and Leah Fay hosted and helped to organise the TeachMeet

                                                           The College Hall was filled to capacity for the TeachMeet

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