Updated: Feb 24
The very short, but to-the-point and truthful answer is: teacher wellbeing.
I'm not willing to attempt to make money off teachers working outside of normal hours (by this I extend the time to 5 o'clock although I'd prefer to draw things to a close by 4:30 given the hour that most teachers arrive at school to prepare for the day). I'd also be uncomfortable running free courses on evenings and weekends.
If my daytime courses aren't successful then that's OK with me. I won't compromise on my values. All of my work with schools will push this dual element of prioritising both teacher health and teacher development. One cannot and should not be done to the detriment of the other.
One of my grand aims as an education consultant, and as a provider of training to teaching staff, is to make a difference in the education sector by focusing on both efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency so that teachers get a good deal; effectiveness so that children get a good deal. Efficiency and effectiveness so that schools get a good deal.
If there is one thing I will always strive for in all that I do as a consultant, it will be to bring efficient yet effective practice to as many teachers as possible. Every review day, evey curriculum review, every planning day, every training session - everything will pass through a filter which asks 'How will this impact on teacher wellbeing?' and another which asks 'How will this cause excellent learning?'
In order to develop efficient yet effective teaching in schools, school leaders (and myself) must be hyper-aware of the pressures that teachers are under. Or course, professional development is necessary - essential for two main purposes:
1) in simple terms, teachers receiving good PD will be getting better at teaching and children will learn more.
2) teachers receiving good PD feel valued and therefore motivated (and this is good for them and their wellbeing AND the school and children who benefit from this healthy state).
Although professional development is clearly an important part of the commitment a teacher makes, it should never compromise their health and wellbeing.
Having said that, my online training is entirely optional - teachers who can't commit to extra professional development don't have to sign up. However, there are teachers who want extra PD but find it difficult to access it when it is outside school hours - they have other commitments: children and other relatives to care for, for example.
I know working outside of normal-ish working hours is something that some people like to do, and that's their prerogative and I have nothing against it, but it's not something I can encourage to teachers en masse. Some people have the ability to attend weekend and evening conferences, webinars and workshops, others could not extend their working hours any more to take part in these.
My offer is for those who cannot commit to evenings and weekends but want to develop themselves.
My offer is for sensitive heads who want to be able to suggest training to their staff but don't want to mandate that they eat up their own time in completing it.
My offer is designed to be short and snappy - a manageable one-off chunk (although I do hope that delegates return so that their PD can be C - continuous).
I've spent the last few years wanting to be able to attend extra training, but only being able to commit to that which falls within the working day. Anything outside of that and I'm compromising my commitment to my family. As a parent of children with additional needs (and indeed, as a parent regardless of the additional needs and just as someone who needs a fair bit of non-work-related activity time), I have always attempted to keep my working day to the minimum where possible so as to give as much time to them as I can. Taking a Saturday away from them to do extra work-related activity is unthinkable. This has influenced my values massively.
And to be quite honest, no-one wants to see an online training session delivered by Aidan Severs from his home outside of school time - there would be no knowing who could burst into the room and what sort of rumpus they would cause in the background (just ask my previous colleagues what meetings with me were like during lockdown)!
If you are someone who cares about their professional development but can't commit to any more out-of-hours work, then keep an eye out for my online training courses - they are timed with you in mind.
If you are someone who needs to develop more efficient teaching practices (so that you still actually have a life outside of teaching) whilst still remaining effective, then every single one of my online training courses are designed for you also.
If you'd prefer to get some CPD and then go out for dinner or to see a show or a movie or a gig, or if you'd just prefer to slob at home (all noble pursuits), then my online courses are also for you.
Click here to see which online courses I'm running currently (not only are they timed to fit into your working day, they're also priced ridiculously cheaply too): https://www.aidansevers.com/services?category=f6ae7119-d1e9-4181-b95f-842af2692454