Yesterday was a day of celebration and reflection as we enjoyed the privilege of watching our students graduate at the University of Huddersfield. It also provided the impetus for writing this post: a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while but I’ve just not known where to start.
You see these past 12 months have seen the TeachNorthern team evolve in a way that was neither planned nor predicted. In hindsight though, maybe we should have predicted this unsettling, and at times uncomfortable year. Not only because uncertainty and change is the norm for many working in the FE and the Adult & Community sector (indeed many of our students are currently facing the stresses of change in their own organisations) but because we are #philosophersofpraxis embracing rhizomatic working and so of course this means change.
We have to embrace change, it is a part of life. If everything stayed the same, nothing would grow. As one of our graduates said yesterday, “we are now ready to spread our wings, we are butterflies, going out there and making a difference”. Last year, the time had come for members of the team to spread their wings and move on to new, different and exciting challenges. It is by ‘daring greatly’ (Brown, 2012) that are all now flying high making a difference and changing worlds as they go.
No one really leaves us though, as our shared social purpose values, and the power of social media, keep us connected. That’s the essence of our Community of Praxis. Indeed, spreading wings brings with it the opportunity for creating of new constellations of practice* which in turn strengthens our ever increasing community of students, graduates, colleagues and friends. By supporting each other in both new and existing constellations we keep going, doing the work that means so much to us, waiting in anticipation of the next rhizome to pop up so we can embrace it and see where it takes us.
So, as I said, yesterday was a time of celebration and reflection. A celebration of what everyone has achieved (I was like a proud parent!) and a time to reflect on our own personal journeys and of those who have inspired and influenced us.
With our pedagogy firmly rooted in the Freirian notion of ‘praxis’, we believe that reflection should lead to action in order to change worlds. With this in mind, now is also a time for looking forward. Asking ourselves where will we be this time next year? What will we have learnt from each other as we enter into dialogical spaces with those we already know and those we are yet to meet? Whilst I don’t know the answers, I cannot help but feel excited about what these new constellations will bring us.
* How our Community of Praxis is continuing to grow.
Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly. How the courage to be vulnerable, transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead. Great Britain: Penguin Life.