Guest Blog #5 Brett Summersby : A revolution is underway

Our latest guest blog comes from Brett Summersby.  Brett has been a primary school teacher for nearly eight years in South London and Nottinghamshire and is currently English Lead in a Nottinghamshire school. (Twitter: @MrS_Primary)
With no better way to describe it, I’ll have to borrow a phrase from a few better known colleagues: A revolution is in the offing. It’s quiet but it’s slowly gathering pace (and noise!) and they’re using Twitter to further their cause.
At a time when education is under fire from numerous agents, this revolution of positivity and sharing is more than just welcome; it’s a necessity. Our profession has always been full of amazing, creative individuals doing innovative work all the time but opportunities to spread and share good practice have always been few and far between (and usually rather pricey). CPD was, and still is in many cases, run by academic experts and consultants long out of the classroom. While I’m not criticising the excellent CPD that can be found out there, it could often feel out of touch or detached from the realities of classroom teaching. The intricacies of implementing the imparted knowledge could be frustratingly overlooked or based on outdated practices. Meanwhile, amazing teachers everywhere were honing their craft within their own classrooms with only their own school or local authority around to witness it.
However, with more and more teachers embracing social media professionally, the revolution kicked off. Working teachers have been given an outlet to share their innovation and creativity with other teachers from the comfort of their own phone and laptop. Educationalists from far-flung corners of the country can share good practice and ideas through Twitter and Facebook at the click of a button. The sharing buzz has snowballed and, in some cases, burst out of the screen into reality like a cheesy 4D ride at a theme park (wind and rain included).
Weekly chats on a weekday evening are fast becoming sell-out annual events – Primary Rocks Live sold out in less than five minutes and I was one of the lucky few to grab a ticket! Grassroots CPD is booming and teachers are reclaiming their profession. Movements like Teach Meet, #PrimaryRocks and Northern Rocks have revolutionised the way we improve our practice. With Reading Rocks North and South, various BrewEd events and Total Teaching amongst many others, we are seeing the rise of a new breed of CPD within our profession. We are now learning from each other; from those currently practising what they preach. Is there anything more inspiring than someone telling you about a strategy that transformed their own classroom only last month? I’m yet to find it.

Purveyors of the revolution.

Over the past year, I’ve taken the dive into Twitter as a professional after many months of ‘lurking’. I’m sure there are many others yet to take the plunge and my words to those people are: COME JOIN IN! I’ve learned more in the last year from the friends I’ve met on EduTwitter than I had in my previous six years of teaching and I feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. I could write a long list of everything I’ve discovered (from Stone Age art ideas to understanding how memory works) but I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for those who haven’t experienced it yet. If you haven’t done so already, create an account and put yourself out there.
Vive la revolution!

The best part of this revolution, for me, is the sense of community and togetherness. No problem is too small; no request is too trivial. We all share the same goal: doing the best for our children. Whether it’s sharing an amazing idea or just being an avenue to let off a bit of steam, I’ve rarely met people so welcoming to complete strangers. We’re all in the same boat and it’s comforting to know that. Positivity and kindness is the collective mantra and it’s infectious. I used the word friends earlier because I genuinely feel like some of the people I’ve met have become friends and I’ve no doubt there will be more to come (especially after a few drinks at #BrewEdLeicester !). At a time when morale in education appears low, being part of such a fabulous community is inspirational.
The revolution was started by a few innovators but it is quickly spreading to the masses. Grassroots CPD is here and it’s showing no signs of leaving any time soon. We are fighting for our profession. We are owning our own development. We are taking control of our own destiny. The revolution is here. Vive la revolution!
Members of the revolution. They don’t bite. Honest.

Thanks to Reading Rocks, BrewEd and Teaching Total for use of their logos and Gaz Needle for the use of the final photo and the Primary Rocks logo.