I have heard the phrase ‘awe and wonder’ used in education to describe learning experiences or hooks that teachers have used to engage their classes. Having been teaching for about 18 years now, I can probably count on one hand when I have been in the presence of awe. However, I see wonder on a daily basis. Children wondering what the answer is to a question that seems just out of reach. Children wondering if someone they have fallen out with will ever be their friend again. Teachers wondering if the lesson someone has observed was good enough.
These two words are an apt way to describe my experience of being part of the team that helped to organise Primary Rocks Live last March.
In the build up to the event, we all wondered whether we would be able to make everything come together. We wondered if we could get enough high quality speakers who would share our vision for the event and its ethos. We wondered whether we would sell enough tickets. We wondered whether things would go smoothly on the day. Would anybody actually turn up? Personally, I wondered whether my headteacher (who I had only been working for for two months) would be impressed by the event. As a team, we supported and helped each other to minimise the impact of these ‘wonders’.
On the Friday afternoon, the day before the event, we set the chairs out. We checked through all of Sophie’s lists. We discussed logistics. We fussed and fretted a little. Had we done enough? Was there anything we had missed?
At about 9.40 am, the awe kicked in. The hall was filled with people, all chatting together, making new friendships or re-igniting existing ones. The entire room had a positive buzz. This was what a grass roots event felt like.
As I watched teachers moving from workshop to workshop, I stood in awe at what we had done. Ten primary teachers had created this. I said to Gaz at one point, “We did this!” He smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said, “Yes, Bryn. We did.” That’s was true awe, right there.
After the event, as teachers were starting to leave, Tim Taylor said to me, “I told my wife that I need to stay in Manchester for Primary Rocks because it is more than just a conference. I will be seeing friends.” I was awestruck by this comment from a man I hold in the highest regard and who travels to many conferences.
To be honest, the awe I felt that day will stay with me forever.
I hope you all have an awesome day at Primary Rocks Live this year. I know I will.
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