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To Thursday, or not to Thursday…?

In case you haven’t heard, SCEL are holding their first ever conference in May and the focus of this first conference is on teacher leadership. It’s looking like it’s going to be a great day…check it out here.

However, a few folk have been asking…why a Thursday? Especially if the theme is teacher leadership. For many teachers, getting out of school is not easy so the obvious question is why not hold it on a weekend?

This very question was debated long and hard within SCEL and although I was out on the road at the time, I expressed my opinion to the team via email. For me, I felt that the right call for this event was to have it in the week. That might seem surprising if you know me at all given that I was largely responsible for the creation of the Saturday variation on TeachMeets…now largely known as Pedagoo events.

Here’s why I felt that it was best if this event was in the week:

  • Firstly, although many of us in the TeachMeet/Pedagoo/Twitter community are happy to attend events on the weekend, huge numbers of teachers are not, or are not able to. During my time carrying out the engagement on teacher leadership, for every teacher who felt that opportunities like this should be on the weekend there was at least another teacher who felt that it was important that there were events like this in the week as they are unable to give up their weekends for a variety of reasons. This I think was backed up by last year’s BOCSH/SCEL Talking About Learning conference, which largely followed the Pedagoo event model but took place in the week instead of on a Saturday…the interest and turnout was much higher than a Pedagoo event and attracted a much broader audience also.
  • Another key outcome from the teacher leadership engagement was that in order to develop it we’re going to need engagement from those at all levels in the system. Classroom teachers are obviously crucial, but they’re not the only important group. The role of PTs, DHTs, HTs, QIOs and others was raised again and again throughout the engagement and I therefore felt that it was important that the event was midweek to ensure this breadth of participation.
  • This isn’t going to be the only thing SCEL does around teacher leadership. Again, it’s clear from the outcomes from the engagement that this is a complex issue and it’s going to require a variety of different approaches to support. SCEL are planning other activities which will take place in other times in the week, such as twilights and Saturdays. In this context, I therefore think it’s appropriate that this conference is in the week as part of the mix.

As I said, this was debated long and hard at SCEL, and these are just my reasons for having opted for midweek, largely influenced by what I heard whilst carrying out the teacher leadership engagement work. If you’re able to join us, come along and help influence SCEL’s future support for teacher leadership. If you’re not, keep an eye out for SCEL’s future events.

So, what do you think ?