In this episode I talk with Mags Amond, a retired post-primary school teacher and PhD candidate, about her research on a form of informal continuous professional development among teachers all over the world. It is called TEACHMEET where teaching professionals come together to encourage, edify and ‘teach’ each other through their own lived experiences. #TeachMeet is a phenomenon that is completely organized and facilitated on a voluntary basis.
Mags reflects on the influence of her parents and their lifelong commitment to volunteering and supporting her educational pursuits. Mags talks about life in ‘the slow lane’ as a part-time PhD, her relationships with fellow research colleagues, the back channels of communication on the journey, and the unexpected twists along the way that have significantly impacted her understanding of research as a scaffolded process.
Mags explains that a newfound awareness of herself as a ‘pracademic’ has transformed her way of thinking about research and practice. Mags likens the beginning of TeachMeets to that of a love child of the unconference world and the growing social media presence in 2006. We talk about how pivoting online due to Covid_19, has had a positive effect on #TeachMeets because educators are hungry for connection, community, belonging and ownership of professional conversations and learning outside of the school environment.
Mags shares her philosophy on the importance of attending #TeachMeets to find ‘something for a Monday’ that you can use for personal or professional enrichment or your classroom teaching practice. She provides a mental visual of ‘desire lines’ that are worn into the ground through a desire to take oneself from where they are to where they want to be – as part of the #TeachMeet process that just becomes a natural path for informal authentic professional learning.