This weekend Twitter and @Staffrm have been buzzing with discussion of, looking forward to and now reflecting upon Northern Rocks 2015, the second pedagogy conference from Leeds. I am one of the lucky ones, I have been to both the 2014 and 2015 events. Even more fortuitously I have been invited as a presenter at both. As people who attended workshop 1 in 2014 and workshop 4 this year will verify my partner Andy Day plays the straight guy as it were and this year especially. I play the more comedic route. If you were not in Lecture Theatre C for our workshop yesterday then you missed a practical demonstration of “Teaching Physical Geography through Solo. Taxonomy and Interpretive Dance”, this is an evolving piece. I have used it in Dagenham a month ago and in two weeks a more polished version, perhaps, will be shared at TMMedway/Kent. But I digress…
What did the weekend include for me and why 33 hours?
I left school in Hornchurch, Havering (that’s in London) at 3pm after the children had cleared the gates on Friday afternoon. I drove North beyond even Watford Gap. My first crossing of the Humber bridge. My co-presenter Andy put me up and we tweaked our presentation and caught up.
Saturday we left the house at 7.30 am to drive to Leeds and the conference. Arriving I met Andy Lewis who still has no Talking Donkey costume much to my chagrin. We walked in to CA,pus Central and registered, already many familiar faces were about including the vertiginous Rachel Orr, well her shoes were vert… If nothing else.
The day had two panels, four workshops, a comedic plenary, Rachel Orr’s soaring vocals and David Cameron – the one that counts – doing a DJ set that was so good people even got up to dance apparently, though. I didn’t see them.
I attended sessions by Stephen Tierney, great to meet in person – impressed? As always and have already passed on how presentation to my school’s SLT as a recommended read. Then I ran, yes really to get one of the max. 20 places available for Den building with Cathy Cross. Everyone else was non secondary – did it matter, hell no we had a great time and today I have been looking to source ex military parachutes online – wait for that new capitation in September.
After lunch Di Leedham gave me many ideas to reinforce the EAL support my department can offer. Then finally my dance and part in the solo taxonomy workshop.
For me a great day, I met many online friends, made more friends, swopped ideas and memories. I got to voice a niggle in my head about how staff in their 50s are considered expensive and being pushed out of the profession, I got to wear wild socks and finally I got to do a ham fisted jive and not drop Karen DW Science.
So it ended there? No, a post event reception where I ate more peanuts being non allergic. Then I ran a taxi service for other members of Staffrm on Tour to Central Leeds. Played with the one way system and then spent some time in the pub – diet coke with essential caffeine before heading for the road. I was home before midnight ns did not turn to stone.
Today I am weary but elated, it was a good trip and tickets providing I will be back in 2016. Three cheers for Northern Rocks…Hip Hip H……