Joy and knowledge

Being 10% Braver. Sheffield College, 2016

Today was a Development Day packed with the sharing of practice, the celebration of great work and plenty of festive fun.

It also contained a sprinkle of added bravery and we can all blame Amjad Ali and his TeachMeet last night, #TMOxford. I was thrilled to find a live feed for an event I would have ordinarily attended but that a move up north, a class until 4pm and a Development Day had prevented this year. As I watched on the train, listened in the Co-Op and made notes when I got home, I was inspired by the words and passion of many of the presenters:

  • Jaz Ampaw-Farr and her celebration of the amazing heroism of educators- highlighting the important, and often life-altering, role we are privileged enough to have.
  • Natalie Scott and her authentic self, great practice and inspirational stories of very real students and their very real lives.
  • Vic Goddard and his ever-influential ‘good sense’ advice and love for the profession.
  • Amjad Ali and his infectious enthusiasm, good humour and overwhelming generosity. Mainly this man because somehow, he’s always had the power to inspire me- to blog more, to share my ideas more, to host TeachMeets and to be brave. I’m unsure what his secret to this is…

And so I ran, excitedly, to my partner and babbled about yet another last minute decision- a great idea I’d had and how I was so excited, but scared, but I must go and do some work now! We’ve been together for 9 years. He’s seen this excitement before and usually responds with a knowing smile, a nod of the head and a calm reminder not to be too long or to work too hard (knowing full well that I won’t be finished until it’s finished). Last night was different though- he got excited with me and entertained my ramblings far longer than usual- we realised that this was the first time, in more than a year that I had been THIS excited about something. I resolved that it had to go ahead and that the only way it could was if I told everyone on Twitter, sought the encouragement of the @WomenEd community to be #10%braver and told my Principal, Heather Smith, to hold me to what I was going to do (without letting on what it was).

3pm arrived and the time for being brave was all of a sudden upon me. I had come close to not speaking at all at the end of the day out of fear, frustration and fatigue. Would 10% braver make me feel more confident or would it make me regret ever having the idea in the first place?

Below are the slides and ‘script’ I sort of followed except didn’t as I just held it in my hand the whole time … Proud!


Earlier this year, I was introduced to the idea of being 10% braver- originally emerging from the #WomenEd movement- and I was inspired to give it a go!

I’ve done a few things over the last year that I’ve considered to be a % braver


Changing jobs.


Moving cities.


Speaking at a national conference.


Heading back into the classroom


Sticking it out for another day, week and month when I really just felt like this…


But last night, watching a live feed from a TeachMeet- an event where educators get together to inspire one another, I felt inspired to get another few % in before 2016 was over. So you can blame educators gathered in Oxford for the reason I’m stood in front of you now.


Today was a Development Day originally intended for sharing practice and celebration.


We’ve seen a great deal of sharing practice today- NOTES

I actually left my notes in the office so I tried to remember them.. I managed 3 of 4 without prompt…

In Foundation Studies, a lecturer was sharing how Functional Skills standards could be dissected to enable students to receive personalised English and maths targets. 

In Design and Visual Arts, the team spirit was clear to see throughout the day and they were focussing on their areas for development in collaborative, supportive and purposeful ways.

In one of the ETF workshops, staff were engaged with exploring vocationally relevant maths and English starter activities their teams could make use of.

In Media, Performing Arts and Academic Studies, staff were exploring how to incorporate more British Values in their practice.


But I’m left wondering how much celebration has taken place…

I’d like you to spend some time thinking about what you would choose to celebrate this term.

Firstly– congratulating yourselves- the first term of an academic year can often feel like this…


(gif shamelessly magpied from Amjad Ali’s #TMOxford presentation)

If we’re lucky then we have colleagues, like these, who help us over the finish line…


(gif shamelessly magpied from Vic Goddard’s #TMOxford presentation)

What are the small, and not so small things you’ve done this term that should be celebrated?

Secondly– congratulating your colleagues. Who has done something a % braver this year? Who has taken an action that gets them and us one step closer to transforming the life of another?

When I say so- you’ll find slips of paper dotted around the room. I’d like you to take a few moments to write a note to a colleague- something you think they should be taking some time to celebrate. You can choose to do this anonymously or otherwise- just make sure you fold it up, place their name on it and drop it in the box on the way out so that we can share it with the recipient as a motivator for the start of the new term!

But before you do that…

16 Dec- 10% Braver (19).png

The January Development Day is themed as a Festival of Learning- a day where we can gather together to learn something new and turn it into an action. I’d like each of you to commit to being 10% braver next term- finding that one thing- even though you may be taking brave risks already- What will your 10% be?

How did it come across to others when I shared my brave moments from the year (arrogant)? What did people think when I only shared 4 pieces of practice shared on the day and all from curriculum teams (left out)? Should I have given some time to writing their celebrations instead of passing onto the next speaker (almost definitely)? How much of what I intended to say was missed out and meaning lost (parts)? How did senior leaders feel about what I was saying as I hadn’t told them anything (disappointed)?

There are a hundred things I could have said or done differently but I refuse to fall into that Hannah trap again. I did it. I will celebrate it. I will feel proud. I am now free to catch-up on work, prepare for holiday and enjoy Christmas food and company.

I felt inspired to go 10 % braver. I was truly authentic ‘proper’ Hannah for the first time since I started my new job. I consciously went all in for 10% braver and I can honestly, hand on heart, say that I enjoyed what I was doing for the first time in a year (after the fact anyway and some of the during it too!) It felt purposeful, meaningful and I hope I achieved some of my aim:

Giving others the permission to feel proud of their achievements, giving them a giggle at the end of term and an opportunity to celebrate their colleagues. 

I am inspired to bring my authentic self to work more often and I’ll definitely be committing to more 10% braver moments next year.

I hopefully inspired at least 1 or 2 others while I was at it.

Some of the messages of celebration to be posted to colleagues for the start of next term:


Next time I feel I can’t do it, that I’m not the right person for the job, that I don’t have the right personality or skills- I’m going to remember this moment, seek out those who inspire me the most and take a shot at 10% braver.


My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

6 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for this inspirational post. I spoke to a colleague about TMOxford and she said she was dubious that teachmeets actually achieved lasting impact – I think I’ll show her your blog. Love the idea that the braver you is the authentic you.

    1. Thank you for your comments! 🙂 I think any CPD has the potential to have lasting impact- not for all, but for some. I wasn’t even present in the room but they were the kind of messages I needed to hear at the time…

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