‘Oh, hey, I haven’t seen you in ages. You look great … ‘

‘Thanks! It’s good to see you too.’

‘So, what have you been up to? Are you still at …?’

‘Yeah, still there. It’s good, but really busy. A couple of Year 12 classes and all the rest.’

‘Hah, I know what you mean! Never anytime to catch up and talk.’

‘Yeah. Yeah.’

And so began the first ‘rebooted’ stella2.0 workshop (the first in 2015 anyway). One impression of the night, from very early on, was of colleagues catching up after a long and busy year. I think most of us knew a couple of others who had come along, or we quickly found a couple of friendly faces if we didn’t know anyone. When teachers get together, they talk. Talk is what English teachers do. English teachers adrift on a sea of talk.

Mind you, it’s not all ‘productive’ shop talk. There is plenty of sideways talk too. But even then it (the sideways talk) does still do something. It makes stuff happen. Important things. Even when it’s not focused on some oh-so-important-outcome that must be demonstrated, logged, evidenced, signed and ticked off. The sea ebbs and flows; it carries us to destinations often beyond our first imaginings.

So there was plenty of talk on the night. Warm, inviting and encouraging talk. Reconnecting talk.

After some formal introductions and housekeeping (thanks for the audio recording!), wine/juice and pizza, the focus turned to some of the ‘organised’ talk of the evening: creativity and ‘English’ teaching. We heard from Ken Robinson, the AC:English, Rob Pope and others, discussed some reading and connected via our own experiences (what does creativity look like in your context or classroom? how do you and your colleagues make space for creativity in your work as teachers/educators? what do you see as the mediating impact of institutions/curriculum on creativity in your context?).

And then there was this strange moment when everything went (sort-of)silent except for lots of odd keyboard clicking. I’m not really sure what happened. I think I might have passed out.

Lucky that not everyone did. Here are some views of others who where awake and lucid:

I had a great time on Wednesday; I think the process of writing really gets the wheels turning, and for everyone to share that energy …

The first workshop was very inspiring and validating for me. It was an example of passionate teachers discussing and contemplating what makes us creative and how we can develop creative classrooms.

What struck me the most was the range of teachers in the room: pre-service teachers, current practicing teachers, retired teachers, academics and others. This mix of people provided such an insight into the teaching of English – the past, the present and the future. It was a privilege to meet you all and discuss big ideas with you.

There’s something about being in a large room with English teachers, pre-service teachers and teacher educators all reflecting and writing in silence… for an extended period of time. And then to hear the room burst into animated conversation as we all shared what we had written. So many stories, so many insights into English teaching and creativity, from so many different perspectives. Last night’s stella2.0 workshop reminded me, if I needed reminding, why I am proud to be part of the English teaching profession.

I can’t wait to see what comes out of stella2.0.

I can’t wait either.

We encourage you to post your writing, pictures, sketches etc up on the forumThere are a number of ways you could do this, including:

  • a section or the entire piece of writing begun in the first workshop
  • an image from the workshop
  • a reflection or comment on the first workshop
  • a reflection or comment on the readings
  • a video of your reflection, or an example of your view of creativity.
  • a mindmap or sketch representing your thoughts of creativity or anything else
  • a comment on the blog or forum posts (you can also do that below).

We know that it’s a big step, but some have already taken it. Be bold.

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