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“Who we are, who are we becoming?” Reflections on the Oasis Northern Conference 2018

A blog piece by National Lead Practioner, Anna Gormal


I sometimes ask myself ‘why did I become a teacher?’ For example, when my children are asleep and I need to sit down and start marking, or when I’m pouring over spreadsheets and tracking numbers across screens to complete data analysis. At times like these when you are busy and tired it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and question yourself.  

But this is not really thinking about ‘why?’ This is thinking about ‘what?’ What needs to be done? What is the next deadline? What time will I actually get to bed? At times like these the ‘why?’ has become lost, subsumed in the minutia of the ‘what?’

Programme for the Oasis Northern Conference 'Who are we and who are we becoming?'

Last week however, was the Oasis Northern Conference where we were invited to consider a question key to the Oasis Education Charter “Who we are we and who are we becoming?” And so, along with a thousand other members of staff from a range of settings, I got a real opportunity to question ‘why?’ and to reflect on our motivation, character and habits.

As an family we had pressed pause; pause on the hectic whirl of the end of the term, pause on ‘to do’ lists and pause on ‘what’s next?’ As a group we came together and really considered our motivations and as we each wrote and displayed our individual ‘whys’ a sense of shared values soon emerged in an affirmation of purpose.

For my part I was able to reflect on my desire to live with integrity, provide opportunity and transform lives. A personal mission statement and yet part of something larger.

Deep down we all know why we became teachers or why we joined Oasis in any number of roles, but it’s always good to remind ourselves.