TMWA & AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
My Standards App
You don’t normally read that at the beginning of a document, but it’s probably the most important thing you’ll need to hear as a Host of TeachMeets! Your participants, your colleagues and, most importantly, your students will reap the benefits of your efforts in hosting a TeachMeet at your school or in your local area.
TeachMeets are gatherings of professional educators who wish to share, support and inspire each other to provide engaging learning experiences for our students. They usually run for two-three hours if held after a school day, or can be as long or short as you like according to your circumstances.
We hope by reading this Host Pack you will get a better understanding of the ideas and issues you might like to consider when planning your TeachMeet. Remember: there is no set plan or specific “rules” about hosting a TeachMeet! Make yours what you want it to be!
Please don’t hesitate to contact a previous Host for your region and/or one of the TM Support crew. It’s a collegial effort to organise and run a TeachMeet – you are not alone! Good luck!
The TeachMeeWA Team (which now includes you!)
Hosting a TeachMeet: Location
Everyone who has access to a room with a projector (or even without!) can run a TeachMeet. Essentially, schools that approve the use of a classroom, meeting room, library area or other appropriate space that can hold up to (and possibly more than) 50 people are welcome to host. You could also host in a pub, local space or wherever you can get people together for a chat. Remember that there should be an interesting, welcoming environment in which to share.
Ewan McIntosh, the brain behind teachmeets in Scotland, suggests having a ‘social object’ which brings people together. This can be a beer, food, whatever gets people talking!
You should work with the TMWA Support Crew to find out which region your school fits best into. The idea is that any attendee is no more than 30 minutes from their workplace or their home when engaged in a TeachMeet in their regions.
Make sure that you provide signage around the venue so that attendees can find their way to you easily. You may like to publish these instructions on the advertising for your TeachMeet. We can help you design and publish this information.
Most attendees will drive to your location unless you suggest they don’t, so it is important to indicate where visitors are allowed to park or ways to get to your location via public transport.
A good idea is to use a Google Map embedded in your advertising to help attendees see where it’s being held.
Hosting a TeachMeet: Content and Focus
Through the Facebook group, members will often suggest topics or post options by which other members can make a selection for their preferred area of discussion. Again, this does not dictate the nature of your TeachMeet by any means, but it might help you when potential presenters offer their services so that there is some kind of central idea to the TeachMeet as a whole. Topics are broad and allow for flexibility of approach and focus by presenters.
Think about the strengths of your own practice. What ideas do you love to discuss? Is there a particular area of teaching and learning in which your school considers itself a leader? Do you have contacts with educators (and even students) who are brimming with ideas and keen to share them?
By giving presenters and attendees a broad focus, it allows everybody to target their energies in a collaborative and constructive manner. Some of the best TeachMeets have had presentations that mix pedagogical thought, educational theory and practical ideas to great effect.
If TeachMeet WA has not proposed a theme for the term, why not suggest one yourself?
And, for those courageous enough, why even have a theme? Invite people to come and share ideas over a coffee or a meal and see where the conversation goes.
Hosting a TeachMeet: Providing for your participants
Although it is meant to be an informal event, TeachMeets do work best when you provide a few key features to make the evening run smoothly. Anything to increase the conversation is welcome and here are a few ideas you might like to consider:
Nametags: Very handy. Name, School, Twitter handle or some other identifying feature will be useful so that participants can network effectively.
Gifts for speakers: Not essential, but a nice touch. Gifts can include small showbags, books and vouchers, remember it is a free event so it may not always be possible to give the gifts. Ask TMWA Support Crew to send you the template of certificates for presenters.
Food and drink: Two options here – you can either ask participants to come armed with a plate of food or a pack of biscuits or you can have your school provide all refreshments. Participants don’t expect a luxurious spread, but as we all know, a full stomach makes for happy teacher. Consider having fruit, biscuits or easily reheatable food. Drinks could be anything but water, tea and coffee are essentials. Participants are often encouraged to get up and get refreshments during presentations as well as allocated breaks.
Information: The more information you can provide about date/time/location the better. You might like to use the template provided to distribute a letter or poster to your colleague and professional learning network.
Live Broadcasts: We have successfully broadcast and recorded live events via uStream, Google Hangouts on Air, Skype etc for teachers in more remote areas and are unable to attend the face to face sessions. TeachMeetWA also has a YouTube Channel. Talk to your IT person or ask the TM Support team for logistical details.
WiFi access: Most participants will want to broadcast their experience through Twitter or access websites and other information that is referred to during the TeachMeet. Help them out by organising WiFi guest access in your school or make it clear during advertising that WiFi will not be available.
Music: You may like to have some music playing before the event and also during breaks. It adds to the atmosphere and can help focus attention as breaks are coming to an end.
Hosting a TeachMeet: Advertising
Your role as Host is to get the advertising ball rolling. If you are a whiz at publishing already, pull out all the stops to make a flyer that can be easily emailed and/or printed and put into pigeonholes of busy teachers but still catch their eye! We have been using Eventbrite for registrations and Smore online flyers besides paper ones. TMWA Support Team can give you passwords to the exisiting accounts and you can design your own or the team can help you.
Milk every contact you have to spread the word and spread it far, wide and often. Busy people will say “yes” to support you but get them to write it in their planners and actually sign up before you count them in! Tapping people on the shoulder is often more effective than yet another email in an inbox.
Use the TeachMeet website (www.teachmeet.net) and the TMWA website (www.teachmeetwa.com.au) to publicise. Use previously held teachmeet advertising examples as templates for your own. Once you’ve done this, you can use the link in emails, Twitter, Facebook or whatever other electronic means of communication you have at your disposal!
When communicating about an event for TeachMeet via Twitter, use the #TMWA hashtag if it is one supported by our network or some other form of #teachmeet related hashtag to keep the conversation – and interest – going for teachmeets!
Our Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeachMeetWA/ is a quick and easy way to share your event details. Remember to ask people to advertise at their staff briefings/meetings and through posters, pamphlets or emails if you have them available. Make it as easy as possible for people to pass the word on about your event.
Hosting a TeachMeet: Timing
In the two-three hours you have, there are several combinations of timing and order that you may choose to use. A basic outline is below:
4pm – participants begin to arrive
4.30pm – Introduction by the Host (that’s you!)
4.35pm – Presentations (3x 7 min + 2x 2 min)
5pm – Break (discussion and refreshments)
5.30pm – Presentations (3x 7 min + 2x 2 min)
5.55pm – Break (discussion and refreshments)
6.30pm – Official close of TeachMeet & thanks from Host
7pm – final participants leave
Please note that this is just one format of many. You will find that the logistics of each presentation may increase the time required by the presenter, thus the time for final break and/or official close of the TeachMeet may be reduced or changed depending on the type or style of the teachmeet (or the number of presenters!)
Based on experience of several hosts, you need to think about adding at least 1 minute per presentation for the presenters to introduce themselves, upload presentations, technical glitches etc.
It’s tempting to reduce the discussion breaks to fit more speakers in, but those breaks are essential for networking and sharing ideas.
TMWA & AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
Encourage presenters to inform you beforehand about what standards will be covered in their presentation.
TMWA & AITSL My Standards App
Encourage everyone to download My Standards App and record their PL.
TMWA & Certificates
There is no need to provide certificates unless you want to, ask attendees to keep their ticket as proof and use My Standards App to record their PL. Attendees can keep their notes or tweets etc as evidence of attendance.
Hosting a TeachMeet: Checklist
Contact TM Support to discuss the event
Confirmation of date with venue and TM Support Crew
Book the venue & equipment
Create an event using EventBrite or similar
Design a poster .jpg to share easily (Smore for online sharing)
Discuss presentation ideas with colleagues
Advertise for presenters.
Optional – update website with bios and brief information about the sessions and can be used to introduce speakers and twitter handles of presenters
Organise food & refreshments (from school or participants)
Organise a bucket of soft toys to throw at presenters who run overtime
Give someone the task of being the timekeeper
- Start with a brief overview of what TeachMeets are and the Pecha Kucha style presentations
- Inform everyone about keeping their ticket as evidence and reiterate Teacher Standards being met and inform them about My Standards App
TeachMeet – Sit back and enjoy
Note: The original Host Pack was shared by Matt Esterman, TeachMeet Sydney, and has been slightly modified to meet the needs of TMWA.