If you are a new English teacher and are just getting acclimated to the job, you might not be thinking about continuing education credits or professional development opportunities yet. However, attending conferences and conventions for English teachers can be a great way to network, gain CEU credits, share resources with other teaching professionals and get the latest and greatest information about teaching, technology, and textbooks.
There are many conferences for teachers that are planned by different organizations throughout the course of the year. As an English teacher preparing for your first conference, use the following conference tips to get the most out of your experience:
7 Tips for Attending a Conference:
- Prepare questions ahead of time. As you go through your daily routines before the conference jot down any notes or questions you would like other colleagues to answer. There will be plenty of opportunities to pick the brains of other experienced teachers, but sometimes it's hard to remember what you wanted to ask once you are there.
- Take a laptop or smart phone with you to the event for gathering and organizing emails and other contact information. Sitting down to type notes at the end of a day packed with information is a good way to make sure you process what you learn and remember what tidbits you want to try in your own classroom.
- Take a snack or at the very least stake out the vending machines. Presentations can go long, and often you will be on a different schedule. It can be hard to keep focus if you're hungry.
- Take a small notebook and extra writing utensils with you. You never know when you'll need to jot down a quick note or write down the little inspirational ideas that come to you during workshops or conversations with colleagues.
- Pack one of your teacher lanyards before you go. You can display your school ID and your nametag making it easier for others to put a face with a name. Some sort of identification is a must for networking with new people.
- Be friendly and participate during workshops. You will get so much more out of the conference if you engage with others and take the time to get information from a number of different perspectives. The more information you can gather during the sessions, the greater the benefits of attending the conference.
- If you are staying overnight, stay at the recommended hotel. You will be close to the events and you will have a greater opportunity to meet up with other friends you might know who are staying at the conference. You can learn a lot from socializing with your colleagues in the evenings.
If you need more information about conference for English teachers or additional conference resources, you might want to check with any professional organizations in your area. Professional journals like Modern English Teacher provide lists of conferences and conventions throughout the Unites States.