I spent this weekend on a Women’s Development course.
I was offered a place on the course by the teaching union of which I am a member. As I’m always up for a bit of self-development I jumped at the opportunity. Of course, the fact that it was a free course and included a stay in a posh hotel had nothing to do with it!
Over the weekend I learnt the stories of many strong and determined women who stood up for themselves and other women and achieved many of the things we take for granted today. Not just the biggies, like getting the vote, that everyone’s already heard of, but things like being able to own your own bank account or get a mortgage without having to defer to your husband and rape in marriage being made illegal. When do you think that law was passed? I was astounded to find out it was only in 1991.
As well gathering inspiration from these women we had a practical session on learning how to chair a meeting and finished with a grand finale where we were given just 15 minutes to write a powerful speech on an issue affecting teaching and then had to stand up in front of everyone and deliver the speech.
I’m used to standing up in front of people and talking, but my audience is usually much younger and less qualified than me. And most of the time they’re not listening anyway. It was a whole different ballgame to have to stand up in front of a cohort of my peers and speak passionately, articulately and knowledgeably on a topic I’d only had 15 minutes to prepare!
As I’d quite like to have a go a public speaking, whether it’s as a motivational speaker or just trying to flog my book (if I ever get round to finishing it), I felt that this was a really worthwhile activity.
But as well as getting to hone some important skills, learning a lot about inspirational women, eating good food and sleeping in a posh bed, I also got to meet some interesting and fun women and now have an email network to keep in touch with.
I’m well and truly developed.