Then She Said “Thank You for Sharing your Knowledge!”

This is a review of my first education conference and experience returning as a speaker the following year.


I’ve attended the Festival of Education 2015

My thoughts were: “What the hell am I doing? I’m not a teacher, student or official education anybody! Don’t even know what I want to do in education! How can I even introduce myself?!

So I packed my bags (and my confidence) but after dragging myself through London, was looking like crap, hungry and needing a shower. The last thing I wanted was conversation with a stranger, and yet…

The other person at the train station was a teacher trainer. She had an upcoming session for new teachers and so I talked about what I know: that it’s possible to rapidly learn loads about teaching and education by following teacher blogs.

In conversation it became clear that my exploration of the education blogosphere had given me knowledge that even those who opt for a career in teaching don’t have, so I said; “If you’d like, I’ll easily put together an eGuide on blogging for your training session.

Sure!” She said, possibly thinking that I’d not follow through. The day after the event she got an email with my eGuide. Her reply:


You’ll never forget the fist time someone genuinely thanks you for sharing your knowledge.

Inside formal education we’re judged on our knowledge. In the real world, if you’ve got your eyes open for the right person and the right need, you’ll be thanked for it.

For the rest of the conference I introduced myself as an ‘expert in teacher blogging‘ which was more alright than I thought it would be. Someone even introduced me as an expert, several wanted my advice and I had answers because of my interest in blogs. It was easy.

Ultimately ‘teacher blogging‘ is not the direction my work has gone, but through pretending this was my thing for those few days, my real worry about being alone and ignored at such a big event all disappeared. That was all I needed.


I’ve spoken at the Festival of Education 2016

“This is a fun, honest and inspiring workshop on creating your own future for students torn between career options. Led by a recruiter turned TEDx performance poet and portfolio careerist (me), with a marketer turned novelist and Forbes featured entrepreneur (Matthew Turner)” Click for our Handout

From clueless outsider, to part of this inspirational education community…

The 2016 Festival was another learning curve, in a different way to 2015. There’s now more colour on my personal map of this landscape, informed by experiences like; ResearchED, TEDxNorwichED, #LearningFirstThe Politics in Education Summitand so many impossible to list.

Thank you to every single person who said hi and gave me a hug. It honestly means the world!

At the end, exhausted from all the excitement, it was in Iesha Small’s session where I came close to sobbing, overwhelmed by all the hope there is. Keep going, keep connecting. Xx


  • Jill Berry

    Very good to meet you there, Leah!

  • Leah K Stewart

    You too Jill. What an amazing irreplaceable you are :)