Where to start?
I attended IATEFL for the first time this year, and although I was only able to attend two out of the five days, I feel like I’m still digesting the experience a week later! I am obviously very new to the world of ELT, and followed the conference avidly online last year. It’s only now that I have witnessed it for myself that I understand why most people in the ELT world love it so much, why people save up for it all year, and why Twitter explodes for the week of the conference.
‘Twas the night before IATEFL, and all through the house…
Don’t worry, I’ll stop there!
As I write this, I am sat at the dining room table of my Air BnB host in Birmingham, Edgars. I got up at 4.30 this morning to be able to Park & Ride to work (in Oxford) to enable me to leave at 3.30pm to try and beat the Oxford and Birmingham traffic. I think it largely worked out, because I was outside the hotel where Edgars works just before 6pm, after some fairly traumatic city driving through Birmingham in the heaving rain. All good driving experience though!
[Writing this post began in late March 2016]
Thanks to reminiscing apps like TimeHop and Facebook’s ‘memory’ feature, I know that it was about this time last year that I was really finding my feet in the wonderful online world of ELT. I was coming to the end of just over a year working as a Digital Product Manager at Routledge/Taylor & Francis (an academic publishing company) and was therefore tying up lots of loose ends with projects and handover documentation for my successor. I was spending a lot of my free time reading books about ELT in preparation for my CELTA, as well as working through the pre-course material I’d been sent from the Berlin School of English. (Posts about which can be found on my Berlingo blog here.) I had also discovered #ELTchat and was trying to participate every week in these fascinating Twitter chats about topics I often barely understood at the beginning. I was even brave enough to suggest my own topic once, and we ended up talking about how newbie teachers can best prepare themselves for life in the ELT classroom.
Needless to say, I was learning an awful lot about this brave new world I was about to enter.