One of the most amazing things you can learn at an international conference such as IATEFL is that “teaching is NOT a lonely job”. I had incredible time in Brighton (beautiful and sunny), chance to meet many ELT speakers, authors, publishers and full time teachers from all over the world and I found out that as a teacher, wherever you are, you are never alone. Oh, and don’t be scared there is nothing haunting out there! Quite the opposite!
The authors of the books you are probably using in your classroom, once you meet them in person, you see a brand new story behind the book and you know they are (were) teachers just like you.
Isn’t that motivating?
The power of social networking sites such as Twitter is immense. Beside the fact that it actually serves as your 24/7 staffroom, it opens up a new world of sharing, collaboration and support for you. And as soon as you meet the people face to face it does change the perspective. My friend Tara Benwell (@tarabenwell) told me that it is a pleasant discovery that all the people from Twitter are just like you imagine them. It doesn’t feel like a second virtual life where people are pretending to be someone else.
Isn’t that encouraging?
And at last but not least, visiting such an incredible conference gives you an opportunity to see the way other teachers are living their every day teaching days and lives. And the more you see and learn, the more you can apply to your own everyday life. See the ways others are using, take them, adapt them or just get most of them and come up with your own ways.
Isn’t it inspiring?
Creativity is brilliant gift but don’t get upset if you are not exceptionally creative! Passion is what’s important if you want to be a great (and satisfied) teacher! Conferences, for all the reasons I mentioned above, are the place to keep the flames of your passion alive. That’s what Jamie Keddie told me the other day!
The five days I spent in Brighton were truly remarkable. And though on the last day my body was completely drained and I felt exhausted (please, forgive me if you had to see me like that ), my mind was/is energized and full of new ideas. This is another thing I love about conferences. You get back home and can’t wait to try out all the new ideas in your classes. I think it’s nice and effective way to prevent burnout, isn’t it?
TOMORROW > Some of the ideas I brought back from the conference > NEW PERSPECTIVES