The treasure for teachers is at the bottom of the ocean. Why the iOnTheFuture conference is totally worth the dive.

Teacher friends of mine who have dived the Great Barrier Reef tell me it was well worth all the effort, expense and courage to make the dive. Many described their up-close encounter with the reef as "unforgettable" and "totally worth it".

I can't tell you much about scuba diving but I can tell you about the rewards for teachers when we go deeper into our thinking, learning and reflecting on practice.

I have attended a lot of education conferences in my time but last year's IOnTheFuture event - 'Into the Deep' - was by far the most relevant and inspirational I've experienced.

Speaker Libby Woodfin set the agenda for the day by quoting Kurt Hahn: "Schools should prepare us for life not just university".

Michelle Navarre re-affirmed the positive and powerful influence of teachers on students navigating an adverse world: "We offer a different story - one of triumph and resilience."

Larry Rosenstock reminded us of why we teach and why we keep on teaching: "What we all do is ultimately an act of love".

Cyndi Gueswell then sobered us up with "Change will take courage".

NSW DoE secretary Mark Scott graciously challenged our fears and reluctance for change. "If you prefer things in your school to stay the way they are then [ironically] everything will have to change." And, to help make the imperative for change a little easier to swallow, Mark taught us: "Change is not an indictment on your past practice".

I am optimistic that the 2019 iOnTheFuture conferences (Sydney and Tweed Coast) will make just as big a splash as 2018 and that this annual event will continue to send waves of innovative change through Australian education.

I hope to see you there in August. (Registration details below.)


James Phelps


James Phelps and Minds Wide Open do not receive any benefit for endorsing this conference. We support any initiative that we believe "prepares students for life not just university" and is "totally worth it".

NSW DoE teachers can find information on your SchoolBiz:

Non-NSW DoE teachers can find information at (scroll down to Registration Details)