a tale of two teachmeets

In January I attended two TeachMeets within one week. A “large” BETT TeachMeet in London, and a “little” TeachMeet in Kildare Education Centre.

Both had the three essential TM elements – TeachMeet, TeachEat, TeachTweet – we come to expect, just on vastly different scales. This got me thinking. Is it fair to compare?

It is like comparing attending a dinner dance with a night at the pub. Each is fun in a different way. (thinks – not that I attend either of those anymore!). One is a large blousy celebration for the wider tribe, the other is a smaller catch up for a closer group. The same with TMs I think – we need the occasional large Céilí (anyone for #tmcesi in Dublin two weeks time?), with the online chatter the associated Twitter back channel can generate; but we could do with more and more of (to borrow a phrase from cooperative learning) the knee-to-knee, eye-to-eye that comes with the smaller gathering also.

Large – #tmBETT16 & #tmBETT2016 – The BETT TM takes place in the Arena just after the Friday show closes. It is an amazing venue, the stage display lends a real stadium feel. There’s a too-large gap between stage and audience though. Memorable moment for me include

  • Natalie Scott gave a searing account of life in the “school” in the migrant holding centres in France. Read her blog, especially the post about teaching superheroes.
  • being amazed by Martin Burrett and his graceful control of the tech while all around him was chaos
  • seeing Bianca‘s picture on the giant screen, and being able to say a few words about her at BETT
  • just being there with Adrienne, DonnaCiara, Nigel, Pam, Hassan, Leanne, Dughall, Drew – people who loved Bianca and knew how much she loved the fun of us all being at BETT together
  • watching the audience reaction, from the vantage point of the stage, to the pantomime that was Stephen Lockyer‘s turn. (Feeling conflicted as to how to react as impromtu “Bean a’Tí” – this situation was a first for me. A real “you had to be there moment”)
  • meeting people I admire but don’t meet very often – AndyMary, Russel, Julian, and at last this year for the first time, a TWIRL (talk with in real life!) with Claire Lotriet

Thanks to Drew for organising it all via the wiki, and giving us the space to put the “B” in BETT; and to Dawn and Dughall for stepping in to presenter’s roles at very short  notice. Although TeachMeet BETT is large and loud, it is lovely to be able to get together there each year.


Little – #tmkildare – this was convened by Nigel Lane, and although small, it was beautifully formed. Each attendee learning a lot, and we had a few “first timers” who will be returning again I suspect. The chats over a super supper in the Silken Thomas lounge afterwards were very enjoyable – great to meet new friends this way. And terrific to catch up with “old” friend Noeleen Leahy on her home turf at last.

The speakers and topics from #tmkildare are listed here…there was even that “something for everyone in the audience”!

Claire Corroon x2 – bar models in maths, and ideas for subtraction
Paul Knox – solving playground disputes with Playworks methods
Nigel Lane – let’s test how secure is your password
Mary Jo Bell – fab reources from Maths websites, inc. Clare Education Centre
Sarah-Jayne Carey x2 – the Questionaut, and “go google yourself”
Stephen Howell – creative coding with Minecraft
David Kearney – IWB & Tablet – best of both worlds
Laura McGarr – Mindfulness in the junior classroom
Mags Amond – Reflective question-stem posters – looking back & looking forward


Last word to the convenor / timekeeper / presenter / raffler / Nigel-of-all-trades himself:

Epilogue – even a small TeachMeet’s chatter can end up in all sorts of strange places – here’s #tmdonegal stalwarth Fiona Farry joining in from the Dublin-Letterkenny bus (and not for the first time if my memory serves me right, eh, Fi?)






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