My 2016!

Professionally 2016 has been a very exciting and interesting year. This year includes attending and organising various CPD events, setting up my own educational blog to share/reflect and most importantly moving abroad to live and teach.

TMHistoryIcons 2016

TMHistoryIcons was the first and original TeachMeet event specifically aimed at Secondary History teachers. The idea is the same as the TeachMeet format – teachers coming together to share, collaborate and network. I was approached by my good friend Tom Rogers to be involved with this event. The planning began in 2015 and the event took place in March 2016 with the fantastic Russel Tarr as our keynote speaker. Highlights of the day include Scott Allsop and Carol Stobbs presentating as well as meeting so many lovely people- too many to name!

Alongside Tom, Leanne and Sean I organised, hosted and presented at the event. It was brilliant! It was very well received by all who attended. A fantastic opportunity to meet and learn from so many enthusiastic, positive and friendly teachers. We have already started planning TMHistoryIcons 2017, again taking place in Chester, and more information about attending and presenting can be found on the website here.

TeachMeet events

Shortly after TMHistoryIcons I attended TMLondon, organised by a lot of well known educators and included a diverse line up of presenters. I attended Lead Lancs Learn and the Telegraph Educational Festival at the stunning Wellington College. I attended both of these events with Mark Anderson, where he delivered superb presentations about teaching and learning. At Ed Fest I also attended a session ran by Shaun Allison & Andy Tharby. I was so inspired, I bought their book Make Every Lesson Count the very same day. The opening keynote by Rory Bremner was hilarious and despite the heavy rain it was worth the long journey from North Wales!

Other events I presented at include TeachMeet Chester and TeachMeet Upton. I think sharing and presenting helps build confidence, allows for others to provide feedback on your practice and it is wonderful to both be inspired by and inspire others in the teaching profession.

New school! New job! New country!

To move to the United Arab Emirates on my own was a daunting but exciting adventure. I know both personally and professionally it was the right decision. I am very lucky that I left an outstanding school and reloacted to another outstanding school, where I have been warmly welcomed by all. In my new role I now teach from Year 5 to Year 12! Teaching Year 5 is so much more enjoyable than I would have expected! Every fortnight there is a ’15 minute forum’ on a Thursday morning. I signed up to share various teaching and learning ideas. The response was full of gratitude and enthusiasm. I also wanted to create a whole school teaching and learning newsletter sharing best practice, resources, books, recommended apps and websites etc. I was fully supported by SLT to do so and I launched the newsletter last month and I look forward to continuing with that into 2017.

Jess Digital Innovation Summit- Dubai

Steve Bambury and Luke Rees both teach at the prestigous Jumeirah English Speaking School in Dubai. They organised a unique CPD event the Digital Innovation Summit, with a clear focus on Edtech and innovation. I was shocked yet very happy to be asked to present at the summit. My presentation was entitled ‘Love to teach…with my iPad’. I simply shared some resources and ideas that I had created for use in the classroom using my iPad or the pupils using their devices. I was very nervous about speaking at the event but I was so glad I did! There were teachers attending from across the UAE and Gulf region. Every presentation and session I attended was of great value. I learnt so much that day. It was one of the best CPD events I have attended and I cannot wait for the JESS Digital Innovation Summit 2017!

UK Blog Awards 17

After only blogging for six months I was delighted to be nominated for the UK blogger of the year in the Education category (the winner to be revealed at a later date in 2017). To be nominated was a real privilege amongst so many other educational bloggers that inspire me, such as @TeacherToolkit @ASTsupportAAli and @MrsHumanities.

I must dedicate a special thank you to Mark Anderson for helping to design my blog and giving me the confidence to share my ideas on that platform. This year I have been very fortunate to work and write blogs with Mark on several occassions. I have learnt so much from Mark in 2016 and I am sure we will collaborate again.

As well as blogging I have also been able to write articles for UKEd magazine, Innovate My School and The Source UAE magazine. In 2016 I became a UKEd Ambassador for Wales and now I am the UKEd International Ambassador. I look forward to continuing to write and blog next year. My next article entitled ‘The Connected Educator’ will be published in the January edition of the Education Journal Middle East. 

What happens next in 2017?

In a few weeks I will be presenting at a Spark event in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi (a TeachMeet style event in the UAE). As previously mentioned I will be hosting and presenting at TMHistoryIcons again. In 2017 I am hoping to work with some of my contacts to organise a TeachMeet in the UAE…so watch this space! When I am back in the UK in March and April I will be working with SkyRocket CPD training, as a keynote speaker alongside Ross Morrison McGill at NQT Wales. Again, this is another excellent professional opportunity. I hope the Newly Qualified Teachers will gain a lot from my keynote presentation and workshop. I have also been asked to present at Moving on Education in Devon in June 2017, which already has a host of experienced professionals signed up to present!

I will also be returning to Berlin on a educational trip with my Year 12 pupils and the History department. Berlin is so rich with history and culture I know we will all learn so much and enjoy our visit. I am also going to Jordan in February to visit Petra, another great learning opportunity!

Thank you to everyone for all the support and encouragement this year. I wish you all the happiness and fulfilment both professionally and personally for 2017!


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