So here goes, my first ever blog. Over the last few years I’ve read people’s blogs and thought about writing one but always had the same answer in my head “But why, nobody will read it.” I still think the same today but I have so many things buzzing around my head from yesterday I wanted to get them down…..so here goes….(apologies now for the ramblings….)
March 16th 2019 – Primary Rocks 2019.
My Primary Rocks journey began in March 2017 when I travelled on my own to Medlock Primary School, Manchester. I walked in feeling really nervous; I knew nobody accept for 2 uni friends @WatsEd and @MrHeadPrimary. There in the same room were the big tweeters I’d admired for so long: @GazNeedle, @BrynGoodman and @Grahamandre! By the end of the day I’d met my new #PrimaryRocks buddy @8bitteacher (Ria) and we agreed to meet up in 2018.
Fast forward to 2019 and this year was so different. I no longer felt like a newbie, but part of an amazing family. I walked in and this time it was hugs all round from Mike, Bryn, Tim, Graham, Ang, Gaz, @MissSMerrill and @f33lthesun. Yet again I met up with Ria and @helen25c but this year I was looking forward to meeting @learnmesummat (Helen) and @Paul_Steenkamp. The room as usual was buzzing and it was great seeing so many faces I recognised.
Yet another great welcome from Gaz (or is that Jaz??) There was some distraction from the #nortiboys (@MisterBodd, @MrS_Primary , @_mrjeffrey & @AnnisbrownJ) but this added to the day!
Graham Andre was up. I sat there listening to his ‘Seven Year Itch’ talk and my admiration for him grew. Hearing his journey into education was uplifting and inspiring. I understand his reasons for not wanting to become a Headteacher but feel a school somewhere is missing a guy who has a passion for education and passion for the educators doing this job. A lot of what he said really hit a chord with me and at the end I admit to feeling really emotional. It has given me much to think about.
Next up Science with @Snotlady5. Before that I finally got to meet @Paul_Steenkamp – #PrimaryRocks is the only place it’s OK to hug someone as they come out the toilet!!! The conversation in the room for Rose’s presentation was just as good as the presentation. @MrTRoach, @Glazgow, @PaulWat5, @Gazneedle and my new friend @MrsLamprecht all sharing a passion for teaching science well. I am the science coordinator and make no secret of the fact I have no science background! I came out of the room buzzing with ideas and a renewed vigour.
Lunchime….and a hug from the legend that is @chrisdysonHT. The hotpot and curry looked good but I was righteous and opted for salad (love feta cheese & olives!!) A chance to talk to people and meet @MissC_1717 and @MrGPrimary then it was the afternoon sessions.
I decided to see Colin Grimes and I was not disappointed. I wondered how he’d compare teaching to his time in the Air Force but it was surprising how much they compare. To be sat in a room with @KateOwbridge, @Maximjkelly & Paul Steenkamp and here Colin talk so passionately about teaching and realising there are so many like-minded educators out there was heart warming. It was a joy hearing Colin talk and something in his talk reminded me of something Graham had talked about. Both MEN talked openly about mental health, how they’d found things hard and how important it is to admit things aren’t OK. There’s a lot of talk around mental health and the public often see women as being the open ‘touchy-feely’ ones, but I saw 2 men talk openly and encourage others to speak out too. It’s OK to not be OK.
Last presentation of the day was from @MissKhan_ and her dislike of Chilli Challenge Maths. The room was full again and the banter was flowing from Mike and Colin – #diamondgate!! I sat and listened to Maaria and admired her passion for her job and her ideas to ensure all children are challenged. It was here I met a new Primary Rocks buddy @MissTYear3.
The final part of the day was listening to Chris Dyson and Simon Smith @Smithssm. 2 inspirational Headteachers who have a passion for education and their staff. I wish all Headteachers could hear Chris talk about how he treats his staff and the need for maintaining staff well-being. The #funpalace style is not for all (as Simon said) but his understanding of how to treat the people who work for him is undeniable. Simon’s enthusiasm and love of books was clear through his talk. How many Headteachers sit for an hour each week and read to the WHOLE SCHOOL? Definitely food for thought there too. His story ably (??!) assisted by his 3 lemmings added to the presentation. 250+ teachers singing Sweet Caroline and Keep On Moving by the legends that are 5ive was yet another highlight.
And that was it, Primary Rocks drew to a close and #PrimaryBeers began. The opportunity to talk to so many people I follow and ‘tweet’. It was a joy talking to @MrsLamprecht and hearing how her journey into teaching began in New Zealand. Brett, Sophie and I put the Year 6 world to rights; I met @aklahall in the toilets (see, I said it was acceptable); I played a quiz with THE @mrlockyer; admired the wardrobe of @Mr_L_Edu; heard about Graham’s #tide; discussed #womensed with Gaz; gossiped with Ellie about mutual establishments; talked about aubergines (!) with @MissKingTeach and talked to Helen about how our careers have been so similar. So at 9.40pm I set off back to Staffordshire. Driving down the M6 was head was buzzing and I couldn’t stop smiling.
I’ve seen people criticise those who give up their weekends to go to conferences like Primary Rocks but as Paul Steenkamp put it, where else can you get AMAZING CPD for £20? Nobody forced anyone to go yesterday but we all have one thing in common – a community who are passionate about education and want to be the best teachers we can be. Teachers often get a bad press and people always latch onto the holidays and the fact we only working 9am to 3,30pm (??!!!) but if they’d been sat in the hall at Medlock Primary School these same people would have seen educators with a common goal: to educate the children in our care to the best of our ability and they should be proud to realise there are so many teachers/headteachers out there who fight so hard for the children in our care everyday. I’m proud to be a teacher and yesterday I was proud to be a part of an amazing community.