Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The post-conference blues cure

I both love and loathe conferences.

It's a bit of an unpopular view, I know, but hear me out before you send out the mob with pitchforks.

I love conferences because they help me to maintain a healthy level of enthusiasm for my profession, which is sometimes quite difficult to maintain. I am a young teacher and there are, of course, issues that make me feel quite frustrated. The parents having unrealistic expectations, students misbehaving, the ministry constantly coming up with new ways to make my life more difficult, and the constant reports. Don't get me started on reports.

There are also students who make a joke in English and make your day. There are students who shout out "Bowties are cool!" in your general direction. There are co-workers that do the Snoopy dance with you in the middle of the staffroom. It all sort of balances out.

Except when it doesn't. That's when your PLN is your life-saver. You can rant on Twitter, you can connect to other people who know exactly what you're going through, you can try out someone's brilliant idea and become the coolest teacher there ever was by growing and evolving and learning from the collective mind of the whole world.

Isn't that something?

And then there are conferences. This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending IATEFL Hungary's wonderful conference. It holds a special place in my heart, as theirs was the first I've ever attended. I'll never forget the thrill I felt when first laying my eyes on people whose books I've used in class. The workshops kept on blowing my mind, I was like an empty book, waiting to get some content.

The joy of conferences, the joy of dedicating a whole weekend to your passion, because you need to be passionate to sacrifice a weekend to your job, to connecting with your inner teaching-nerd. It's a bit of heaven on Earth, it's like a little slice of a world where you can grow and grow and grow and have fun and be inspired and...

Picture taken from the fabulous http://budapestonline.wordpress.com and featuring the incredible Beatrix Price,
Nóra Tartsay Németh and Bethany Cagnol

...and then it's all over and Monday comes. So you're like a junkie that had his fix and now someone's taken it away.

So, what can we all do to make this post-conference blues, which is the reason for my loathing go away? Honestly, not much. However, there are webinars, online conferences, Twitter chats, Facebook groups, you name it, we've got it. Basically, hurray web!

Still need a fix, of course we do. To keep this enthusiasm going, basically challenge yourself. Write a blog. Join Twitter. Contribute your materials. Make a podcast. Try out a new methodology approach, just so you can say you did it.

You have something to say, so say it. Your voice is not unimportant.

2 comments :

  1. Hi Lea, I know exactly how it is. I'm getting through my own post-conference blues today! yes, I attended last Fry and Sat the ELT Conference at Universidad del Valle (My dear Alma Mater) and it was a huge bitter-sweet sharing of experiences, big efforts to come up with something in order to make "real" those new trends in teaching, building nets between new teachers etc. The day after you feel a hangover: in a way you want to keep on going, you feel happy bc there's a lot of people with the same problems or questions but, but anyway tomorrow is Mon and you have to face another week with renewed energy. Thanks for sharing...good luck

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  2. Hi Hector, yes, it's just as you say. The best part of conferences is making new friends, the workshops are an added bonus. I like the comparison with hangovers you've made, it does feel a bit like it.
    Keep on conferencing! ;)

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