Meet Olly

I’d like to introduce you to to some hypothetical friends of mine

  • Olly
  • Jade
  • Ali
  • Verity
  • Dwayne

Now I’ll tell a brief snippet about each

  • One has been a single parent since the age of 21
  • One is a management consultant who lives in Surrey
  • One has a criminal record
  • One works in PR and lives in London
  • One is a medical doctor possibly at severe risk of being radicalised

I was recently on a panel about leadership at the Times Festival of Education 2015 and the inevitable (for any panel not entirely consisting of white males) question about diversity in school leadership came up. Annoyingly, I don’t think I answered entirely in the way which was expected. My response was to muse aloud with a rhetorical  question to the audience about what governing bodies and recruitment panels thought a leader looked like. In retrospect, I’ll also add, sounds like, laughs like, moves like.

Which of my hypothetical names did your gut automatically assign each of the brief statements?

Why?

Is mainstream success a desirable thing?

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak to an assembled group of educators, artists and youth workers with a passion for education and effecting change in their communities and wider society.

My talk was around the theme “Is mainstream success a desirable thing?.” It was tailored to the specific audience but had wide ranging themes which speak to any creative person, entrepreneur or passionate person wrestling with what to do to, and who to partner with, to ensure sure that their vision or ideas are seen and adopted by as many people as possible to change the world.

These two tweets probably best sum up what the talk was about.

1

I can’t provide a transcript as it was designed to be something heard, experienced and driven by audience interaction with but it was well received so the 8 sources that I built the talk around are below.

They are in no particular order, as the format of talk was non-linear and inspired by the ‘Choose your own adventure books’ that I read as a kid in the 80s

2

Let the quotes begin. Highlights are the specific parts used in my talk.

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1.0

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2.

3

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3.4

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4.5

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5.6

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6.7

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7.8

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8.9

So, in summary:  Know who you are and why you are motivated to do the work you do or create the art that you create. Then do it. Find the others who passionately believe in that vision/world view and partner with them. Mainstream success – however you choose to interpret it- or recognition may well be a side effect of that but unhappiness and disillusionment lies in having it as the main goal.

Sources/Inspiration (No, I haven’t Harvard ref’d)

  • Start with Why, Simon Sinek  (Chapter 3, The Golden Circle)
  • The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison, The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/magazine/the-radical-vision-of-toni-morrison.html?partner=socialflow&smid=tw-nytmag&_r=0

  • Cecile Emeke isn’t worried about Hollywood, The New York Times magazine

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/magazine/cecile-emeke-isnt-worried-about-hollywood.html

  • UK Hip Hop Ed manifesto, Art of Curious blog

http://artofcurious.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/uk-hiphoped-manifesto.html

The death of teachmeets?

Teach meets started as an informal gathering of teachers, hoping to share ideas and learn from each other. They we free and informal and for teachers, by teachers. Some presentations were good, some were bad, some useful some less so but they were democratic and practitioner- led. They were the antidote to conferences and courses that cost £100s of pounds ( themselves and in cover) often led by people whose job it seems at times it to make money from our educational system.

Teachers wanted to listen to professionals who still taught and who taught kids like ours. In schools like ours. With timetables like ours. We were tired of hearing the latest eduguru tell us stuff that wasn’t directly applicable in our classrooms. We were tired of going to conferences and hearing the same key- note speakers put minutely different spins on the same message. We were tired of missing our classes to go on courses that didn’t really impact our teaching.

The first time I went to a TM it was a breath of fresh air, teachers who had given up heir personal time to develop professionally, you could feel the energy and good will in the room. I felt invigorated but even then I noticed some signs that the honey moon couldn’t last. A few presentations were barely masked pitches for educational services. Commercial companies had caught wind of teach meets and seen it as a new way to market. Some we probably worried that teachers would stop going to traditional paid for conferences and decided to jump on the teach meet bandwagon.

Now I wonder if we as a profession are allowing teach meets to become the very things that we railed against? As a causal and fairly novice observer (attender of 2 teachmeets and observer pf others via Twitter) some TMs are starting to look depressingly the same, the same star presenters, often superbloggers plugging their forthcoming books, the same keynote speakers ( now starting to migrate from the laid for conference circuit) and in some cases even the same audiences.

Today I note that Osiris, an educational course provider has, out of the goodness of its heart supposedly started a website where people can

This isn’t what the revolution was meant to be? Was it?