Ten days after the end of the IATEFL conference, and it feels like I’m living a whole different life now.
Back to earth with a bang and a serious case of post-conference blues, after one of the best weeks of my life.
As Adam Beale and Adam Simpson have already so eloquently said, it was a week of building (on) relationships that will hopefully last for a long time. It was a week of connecting with like-minded people face-to-face and immersing myself in an environment where everyone wants to improve, and I didn’t get complained at for talking about teaching at the pub!
I shared a room with Lizzie Pinard, so over breakfast each day and each evening after we returned to the hotel we compared notes, sharing information and impressions from the talks we attended and the people we met. And what people! Inspirational all, friendly, motivated and everywhere! No matter which part of the building I was in, or which talk I attended, there was always a fellow PLN member to chat to, and at no point during the week, even during the pre-conference events, did I feel alone. This is a major feat for such a big event, with over 2300 delegates. It would have been easy to become lost in such an environment, and I hope that those who went without a PLN managed to find support in the crowd.
As well as the Twitterati, I also had the pleasure of meeting members of the Learner Autonomy SIG for the first time, fellow scholarship winners and an inspirational teacher from Sicily. I hope to stay in contact with them after the conference too.
I have already put together all of the tweets I sent out during the conference, which shows the diversity of talks which I was able to attend.
I was lucky enough to get the International House John Haycraft Classroom Exploration scholarship to be able to go to the conference. Without it, it would have been difficult for me to get there, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I was given. As a condition of the scholarship, I had to do a presentation at the conference, and this was one of the highlights of the week for me. I’m one of those strange people who enjoys public speaking and I was on such a high after the talk that I found it very difficult to get to sleep that night! Mike Hogan took an excellent photo (just one of many he took during the conference!) after it had finished, which sums up a lot of my memories of the week:
Memories of my first IATEFL conference will stay with me for a long time. I very much hope to be able to go to the next conference, and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there!