Why I’m signing up to Edumate

This week Tom Rogers (Founder of things like TeachMeet Icons and Edudate) launched Edumate. Much like Edudate, there are those out there who are sceptical of the idea, but I wanted to blog to explain why I think it’s a great idea and something I plan to join in with.

For some people making teacher friends is really easy, maybe you made really good friends on whichever route you took into teaching, or have struck up friendships in the staff room. For others this may not be the case. Personally, I didn’t relocate miles away to teach and so live in striking distance of most of my own school friends and as a group we stay in contact, so I see those that are further away too. But none of them are teachers, so come holiday time they’re all working Monday-Friday 9-5. I’m not in contact with a whole load of uni friends, but those that I do speak to live miles away and aren’t teachers either. Not sharing the same enthusiasm for nights out as my fellow School Direct trainees back in 2014-15 left me on the edges of that social circle from fairly early on too, so I’m not really in touch with them either.

Schools can be a funny place for making friends too, not being part of the staff room cliques or being in a department with people who are very different to you can mean that you just don’t end up mixing with people you want to spend your time with outside of Monday-Friday during the term. Over six years and three schools I only have one friend that I’ve stayed in contact with and will choose to meet with in the holidays. As I said before, this isn’t an issue for me, I’m not trying to get out my violin here at all! But I can completely see how someone in a new area maybe, or who lives alone could struggle and therefore find something like Edumate very useful.

I’ve seen a number of people who have been lucky enough to strike up some friendships via Twitter questioning why Edumate would even be needed. If you’ve managed to make friends via Twitter then I can see why you wouldn’t see the need, but when Twitter can be fairly daunting at the best of times this might not work for everyone.

In terms of the safety concerns I know some people have, I can only speak from my own point of view. But as someone that used online dating apps such as Plenty of Fish and Tinder for just over a year before meeting my now-fiancé, I have to say I feel safer using a video chat via WhatsApp and knowing I have the ability to block the number afterwards if I needed to than I did going out and meeting people face to face. The apps I used had no safety or ID checks, anyone could sign up and say whatever they liked about themselves. As an adult using these apps this was my choice and I had to look after my own safety. The same goes for Edumate, you exercise caution in exactly the same way. Clearly I speak as someone who has been used to meeting strangers in that way, so perhaps I’m just used to it.

So overall, whilst it’s not for everyone I think Edumate is a great idea for meeting new people who are likely to share similar interests. Let’s face it, for £3 a session you can’t go too far wrong and if you don’t leave with new friends you’ll have spent an afternoon/evening speaking to lots of new people.

Please note all of the above is my personal opinion, especially when addressing safety concerns and costs.

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