Canberra was the landing place for the Achper International Physical Education Conference kicking of 2017 with a little of a week before teachers returned to school. 320 of Australia's finest educators as well as a sprinkling of overseas guests was enough to create an enormous atmosphere in our countries Capital City. I was here this year for the first time as a guest of Cricket Australia as part of their Schools Ambassador Program where I was given the opportunity to present on behalf of CA to energetic teachers ready to confirm confidence and build a data bank of fresh ideas to give growth and life to their personal PhysEd classrooms.
After assisting the Taxi driver with navigations to reach University of Canberra I was greeted with fresh familiar faces both via personal connections with in the past but also through Twitter and Voxer. The Aussie PhysEd family was here: Sean, Mark, Pat, Shannon, Christina, Kristina, Lizzy and Andi. It was also amazing to turn a corner and run head into my bosses for this year Dick and Rohan Telford for whim I have been entrusted with the role of PEPL Coach- (Physical Education Physical Literacy). Our chats are always too brief with so many faces to see and hands to shake. (Sometimes my thoughts are the best way to truely connect with other professionals is 'not' at conferences!) Bernie Holland and Shane Pill, legends our of game, were also conversations I love having but all too frequently. These two have so much experience and passion for our field that sometimes I would love to tap their brains for answers to some of my hardest questions. But again not at conferences so the conversation could flow for days and weeks on end. A quick 15 minutes spent with Mark Collard and Sean De Morton from Playmeo had me buzzing. This was the medicine that kick started my 2017. It was the awakening I needed to come out of Summer Slumber and to kick start the brain into drive for creative passion to be developed for the year ahead. Mark does this to me every time. His passion over 25 years of connecting and building relationships is so infectious and contagious as an educator. There is not excuse not to be an isolated individual in a school with more than 1 person.
My final Day 1 connections were with the team for why I am in Canberra. Wayne and James from Cricket Australia. We had brainstormed the 'What is possible?" in past weeks but this conference was when the keys were passed to me and confidence was given to represent one of the most influential and power brands in Australian Sport. One of the highlights of Day 1 was meeting then attending a coaching session held for Samuel Badree from the West Indies Cricket World Cup Champion Team member who was going to be presenting with us. (The team was awesome)
Planning is always tricky when tapping into PhysEd minds for workshops but trying to harness the thoughts of multiple PE minds is crazy. Getting ideas onto one page has been incredible and finally at 3am the final draft of Day 2 Achper had been developed and a game plan agreed upon. Models had been built and tested, prizes had been packed and scripts written to empower the 20 keen PhysEd Teachers brave enough to put them before 4 individuals described as 'children with sugar highs'. The package for the day consisted on the following:
1. Intro lanes bowling- Landing the ball at a consistent length
2. Target Throw down and variations
3. Scorcher Ball variations
4. Yes, No, Wait- Cricket Communication and varying it with a couple of fielders simulating an actual event
5. Build It city with learning Intentions focusing on Batting and Striking, Bowling and fielding
6. Anywhere Cricket- Piggy backing from Backyard Cricket
7. Modified T20
The explicit nature of this then gave delegates the opportunity to vary the activities according to their knowledge bank. This is the key to engagement and ownership by students in the classroom. Let them drive the lesson. Step back, be a facilitator and watch engagement and confidence exceed your wildest expectations.
So as I sit here in the Canberra Airport capturing what was an unbelievable day I watch as businessmen and businesswomen walk to the connecting planes in their suits, ties and business dresses. My reflection is very similar to that of the story of Stenson, told my Martin and Hugh from The Resilience Project. I think HOW GOOD IS DIS? I am so fortunate to be connected with so many motivating and passionate teachers from all over our great country and throughout the world. When asked what I wanted to do in life when I was 16 I was confident I wanted to be a Physical Education Teacher. Lifes goal ticked off right here and into the future. Living the dream everyday.
Thank you @achpernational for what you do and allowing me to be a part of your conference. Thank you Cricket Australia for allowing me to represent you and your brand in the world of empowering students with self belief and confidence.