The Key to Teaching

On Friday I attended the Teach Meet World Record Attempt at Australian Technology Park. I’ve blogged about Teach Meet before and will continue to do so because the concept is a simple, yet brilliant one. Networking and TPL all for the tiny price of: your time. For a teacher who has spent many years in isolation, not connecting with others and expanding her ideas, Teach Meet has been a breath of fresh air for me. I presented my first 2 minute Pecha-Kucha last October and I was asked to present again on Friday.

My presentation is in two parts: the powerpoint presentation that I didn’t actually end up showing on the night and a very rough transcript of what I said.

Before I launch in to what I actually said (I can’t quite believe I remember it all) I have to establish a bit of a context. I had a prop as part of my presentation. A silver box with a mystery gift inside. Read below and see if you can guess what it is…the mystery will be revealed at the end of the post.

Today I’m here to talk to you about the most amazing birthday gift that I have bought for Mr Alex W, who we saw doing the conga line earlier. I’ve known Alex for about six months. I met him at a Teach Meet and since then we have been conversing quite regularly over Twitter about all manner of things but mostly how to be a better teacher.

Alex is one of the most infectious, enthusiastic people that I know and I wanted to get him something to show him my appreciation. But I didn’t want to get him something kitsch like a mug, chocolates or a card. I wanted to get him something that showed him what education meant to me.

So off I went to Westfield, trawling the shops, feeling rather despondent because I couldn’t find anything that I liked. Then I came across this one shop and this one item…and it, ladies and gentleman, is what is in this box.

Now I want you to see if you can guess what I have bought Alex. So feel free at any time during my presentation, once you think you know what it is, to come up and have a look. Be careful though, it’s a little moody, so be nice.

As I looked at this gift I realised, not only is this gift the best birthday present. This gift is going to change the way Alex thinks about teaching forever. Not only the way Alex thinks, but the way all teachers think. So I had to share this at a Teach Meet right?

Anyway, this gift, links in perfectly with what I think education means to me right now. The other part of which is my keys. Literally, yes, because it opens the hundreds of doors to the classrooms I work in every day of every year, but also metaphorically. These keys, are the strategies that I have collected over the years and have up my sleeve to pull out magically when I need to. Some of the keys are new, some are old, some are pretty, some are patterned. These keys unlock the doors, the minds of the students in my classroom. Unlock their creativity, their potential, their ambition and desire to discover the amazing people they will one day become.

So it is important that I try every key, in every lock, in every possible way, every day to ensure my students are on their way to realising this.

The only way these keys can work though, is if you use what is in the box up here on stage, ladies and gentleman. So by now, you may have guessed what I bought Alex for his birthday, but if you haven’t please feel free to find me, or Alex now seeing as it is his gift, to take a look.

Thank you.

What’s your teaching philosophy? Has it changed over the years? I know mine has. Comments appreciated.

For more information on Teach Meet: visit their website or join the wiki.

Image Credit:

Keymaster (HDR), seanmcgrath, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0),

The Key to Teaching, @whartonag, Used with Permission.



  1. I think that the use of the metaphor of the keys is very clever – it has been a good strategy to keep in the back of my mind when I am standing at the front of my classes. I’m beginning to use it as a mantra, because I know my job, and I know my content, it’s just those certain ‘things’ that simply get in my way of educating…
    My keys I’ve had up my sleeve for the past few years are still there, ready for me to use whenever I need them…
    Thanks Karla! You’re awesome!!

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