I first came across the idea of paragraph blogging because Sandy Millin gave it a go and I read her blog regularly. Given I am using bullet points, this isn’t technically a paragraph BUT it is a much shorter post than I am usually given to writing, so I think that is in keeping with the general concept, one which I may revisit post IATEFL as it is about the only way I will have time to publish anything for the next couple of terms!
Usually my preparations for IATEFL include asking and answering the following questions:
- What will I see (peruse the programme and highlight far too many things – how many can I squeeze in?)
- Who will I see? (make plans to catch up with a bunch of people)
- What/where will I eat? (are there any eateries that are me-friendly i.e. cater for vegans? If not, where is the nearest supermarket? Thank goodness for self-catering.)
- How will I decompress? (Any nice spaces for walking or running to alleviate the effects people-heavy nature of conferences on an introvert?)
- How do I get from my accommodation to the conference centre and back again? (study Google Maps and pray)
- Who is covering my classes at work? (Make sure they have everything they need to do it easily)
- Have I packed my data cable? (Where did I put it after the last conference???? In a safe place…)
This year, I am adding the following questions:
- How many essay outlines can I give feedback on via Turnitin while I am at the conference? (There are up to 30 – if all my students submit – being submitted on Sunday and I have two weeks to mark them in. One of those weeks is IATEFL. The other of those weeks is one in which I will need teach all my classes, mark up to 80 listening exam scripts, or two groups worth + double marking, and do all my ADoSing duties as I have been made an ADos for this term and next term.)
- Can I finish marking all the reading and writing practice exam scripts (x30) on the train on the way down South? If so, will there be time also to look at the conference programme and my talk (which I prepared, thankfully, late last year but need to review)?
- How best to organise my time at the conference to maximise on good sessions, catch up with people, keep up with marking and decompress as needed (and ideally fit in some eating and sleeping too!)?
- How much extra admin (e.g. tutorial timetables, speaking exam timetables, meeting notes, checklists, draft emails) can I do this week to save myself a few headaches in Week 3 (a.k.a. the crazy week awaiting me on my return)?
To anybody attending IATEFL this year, or to anybody who has attended IATEFL in the past, what questions do you ask and answer in preparation? 🙂