In previous posts, I’ve mentioned how nice it is to occasionally convert some of our online connections into real ones. This week I had the opportunity to again meet up with someone I’d only ever know through the blogosphere.
Susan Sedro is a teacher at the Singapore American School where she does ICT support for years 3, 4 and 5. The first time I “met” her was during a group Skype call back in September last year and since that time we have read each other’s blogs, chatted occasionally on Skype and, along with Kim Cofino, even recorded an episode of Virtual Staffroom together.
I’d noticed that Susan was asking some very Aussie-centric questions on Twitter a while back, wanting to know the best places to go snorkelling on the Barrier Reef, etc, so I assumed she might be planning a trip down here. We got in contact and I said if she was in Australia to give me a yell and we’d catch up. Well, she yelled and we caught up.
So last Wednesday night, Linda and I met Susan and her partner Kent in front of the Orient Hotel at the Rocks here in Sydney. We had a very pleasant evening wandering around the city, starting by catching a cab down to Darling Harbour, walking across the old Pyrmont Bridge to have an al-fresco dinner and a few beers at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel, followed by a walk through Darling Harbour, up Liverpool Street through the Spanish Quarter, left into George Street past Town Hall and St Andrews Cathedral and all the way down to Wynyard Station. It was a nice night for a walk and we had a good chat about all sorts of things, some education-related, and some not.
I made the offer to Susan and Kent to drop into my school, PLC, at some stage if they had time. Fortunately, their plans for the next day had them catching a train that went right through Croydon so they took me up on the offer and popped in on their way. We did a quick tour of some of the school, and even dropped into one of the computer rooms where Year 4 was having a lesson and had a chat with some of the kids.
My school runs a program called Transition Class, which caters for special needs students with fairly significant learning disabilities. These students, about 20 of them, attend regular classes but also focus on learning a lot of life skills. To help facilitate this, PLC bought a house next door to the school which they call Transition House and the kids regularly spend time there, learning very practical skills to teach them to look after themselves. One of the wonderful things these kids do every term is called Transition Cafe, where they host and manage a cafe luncheon for PLC staff… the menu is prepared, orders are taken and the food is cooked and served by the transition students and it’s a wonderful example of real life, relevant learning in action. Kent and Susan’s visit just happened to coincide with this term’s Transition Cafe event so of course they were invited to join us for lunch at the table reserved for the IT Services team. We all had a very pleasant time sitting in the sunshine, chatting and being served by our wonderful transition kids.
I had to sneak off from lunch a little early as I had an IWB workshop I’d promised to run for our Creative Arts staff. I left Susan and Kent in the capable hands of our IT Director, Chris Waterman, who escorted them over to meet me just as the IWB session was winding up, and we took another quick tour through The Croydon, an old pub that was bought by the school a few years ago and converted to our centre for technology and the arts, before eventually bidding them farewell as they continued on with their day.
Meeting IRL is a good thing… If you ever get the chance to meet up with colleagues you’ve only ever known through the network, I’d encourage you to do it. It was terrific to meet Susan and Kent, and I’m hoping to be able to take them up on their offer to catch up in Singapore one day.
I think it would be rather nice to sit and share a beer or two at Raffles Hotel. 🙂