To spice up the first term and kick off the first CPD session Tenby International Secondary School teachers went full throttle for speed dating on Tuesday. Numbers were stuck, and re-stuck, and new members and experienced staff circulated round the hall to brag about their educational conquests.

This year the school welcomed 20 new staff to the team, so there is never enough opportunity to try to remember colleagues names and grab educational ideas from around the world to ensure the best learning experience.

This time last year, I can remember the whirlwind of moving to a new country, a new school and meeting people whose names you would forget instantly.  I wanted to launch CPD this year with a session that was interactive, informative and enjoyable.

Speed dating #BringAndBrag was perfect to get CPD kick started (thank you for all your ideas and resources @TeacherToolkit).

Staff signed in, got their number and picked up a form to record who they spoke to at the session. While staff busily denied ever attending speed dating and innocently enquired if this is this how speed dating really worked – to which I replied to ask the Head Teacher because he seemed very eager.

I introduced the session and explained what I wanted each member of staff to gain; one of which they had already achieved – taking responsibility for their own CPD and bringing something to share. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet new staff, share pedagogy, #takeaway new ideas, be reminded of old ones and reflect on their own classroom practice.

From the off, there was a genuine buzz in the room. The atmosphere was fantastic; we had ‘newbie’ teachers to the school meeting ‘older’ teachers, experienced teachers sharing ideas with NQT’s, middle leaders and senior leaders discussing pedagogy, local and expat staff engrossed in each others mini presentations. On a few occasions, it was difficult to move some people on to their next date!

Towards the end of the session staff were given the opportunity to mingle, in order to find the member of staff who caught their attention and delve a little deeper into finding out more to their strategy. There were a few staff members who proved very popular in the speed dating game and I’m hoping they will agree to sharing further in our #15minuteforum that will be introduced shortly to our voluntary CPD sessions.

To conclude the session I asked staff to vote for their top three ideas, with prizes to be awarded in the next full staff briefing.

It is always important to ask for feedback on a session, though scary to read, I was so pleased with the comments – here are some:

“Brilliant session, so many good ideas now shared. Will benefit us and the pupils.”

“Love it. Looking forward to more like this session. Learned many different things from staff. It motivates me to do more creative things.”

“Great to suggest possible activities that you know and that could work for another teacher in another subject.”

Being able to roam the room as the host was a great eye opener for me to see and hear what staff were bringing and bragging about. Reflecting on the session the next step is now guiding staff with the help of some of our teachers to make sure the strategies being used are not only engaging in the classroom but most importantly they are having an impact on the students learning.

Thank you to all the staff for bringing your excellent ideas and bragging about them. You can all say that you have now been speed dating!

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