Thank you to dedicated WellyEDer Kelly Layton for this reflection on why educampwelly is one of her favourite forms of professional learning. Follow Kelly on Twitter @Kellylayton99. Remember if you want to be up-to-date with WellyED and educampwelly, the easiest way is to follow this blog (click on the blue button just over there to the right!), to follow us on Twitter @Welly_ED, and to join our group on G+.
Summer is wonderful, there is so much to take pleasure in. Personally, I love being able to walk in the bush every day, have a coffee on the sea front, do silly jobs that I never make time for all year (this year was cleaning the pantry), making plans, not making plans, barbecues with friends I never see enough of, naps, listening to podcasts about all manner of topics, and breathing.
Work is there, but in a lovely, gentle way. I flick through Twitter, save a few links I know I’ll want to think about more later: new ideas I want to know more about, old ideas I want to examine further, parts of my programme I know need refreshing. Maybe even chip away at some professional reading before I fall asleep under the old Ngaio out front. It’s no stress, no pressure, just percolating quietly at the back of my summer brain.
Then the start of the year rolls around. This year I’m looking forward to co-teaching with a long time colleague with senior students from year 4-6. She has many strengths I don’t and I look forward to learning from her, as well as from the students who will cause us to learn as much as we aim to help learning happen for them.
It’s with this frame of mind, Educampwelly appears at the start of the learning year when enthusiasm and energy are still high, programmes are still evolving, and there’s time and space to reflect on and inject new ideas. I really enjoy this educator-organised, educator-led time of professional learning. What’s to love? What’s not to, more like!
- It’s nice to be in a room full of educators who are clearly enthusiastic about teaching and learning. They bring a buzz of energy, and it’s great to reconnect with people you may not see that often.
- Welly has some amazing educators. At Educamp, you get a close up look at what these exciting and innovative people are doing. You get to ask questions pertinent to your learners and practice, and all the nitty-gritty things you have been wondering about.
- People at Educamp organise what happens at Educamp. Listening to the smack-down (people at the start of the day have a minute to talk about something they’re really excited about) gets you excited about what the day may bring. You write up what you would like to explore further in sessions, the marvellous team whip up a timetable and voila! An exciting day of learning and connecting.
- I really enjoy the no pressure feel. Not being a fan of public speaking, there is no expectation to do so. For those keen to speak up, their contributions are very welcome! The sessions are run as discussions with people sharing what they know, asking questions, making connections and challenging ideas. No-one is ‘the expert’, though some may have more experience about the topic. Everyone contributes positively in the way that suits them. Relaxed, but with energy.
- At the end of it all, I feel excited at what the year may bring, how I may include all the rich learning I have got from the day, and the connections made or re-forged. I feel inspired to be in a profession with such a cool bunch of people doing great things all over the capital. And there may even be pizza and beer.
My wish list for this year? I hope there’s something about co-teaching, about exciting and meaningful maths programmes, I’m always interested in how people are developing learning agency, I’m keen to see if people are keen to connect our learners and get visits happening, and of course the exciting unknown!
If you’ve been to Educamp before, see you on February 25th. If you haven’t, give it a go! Bring a friend or three, or come alone – you certainly won’t be lonely. It’s a few hours very well spent.
Here are my reflections from Educamp Welly 2016.