Academic conferences are important for professional development, and they are also fun. My friends/colleauges from NAU and I attended AZ-TESOL (Arizona chapter of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in Prescott Valley, Arizona. It was a smaller turnout than I expected, but I got to spend time talking with people from my classes who I hadn't had time to get to know.
The sessions ranged from textbook sales reps to highly interactive activities to use with students. I enjoyed watching some of my new friends present research on best practices in the classroom. It was nice to see people's real passions, and not the day-to-day stuff that we are often bogged down with. I also invested in some wonderful ESL materials from a session about teaching lower level ESL. I decided to invest a little in these fabulous laminated cards that have words color-coded by part of speech. The cards have magnents, so they will stick on newer white boards, filing cabinets or other metal objects. The cards are great because they are easy to read, the students and I can move them around, and the color-coding helps students associate words within a category. I'm trying to figure out a way to use them in my freshman composition class becuase I'm just so excited about them.
My excitment level about some laminated cards should tell you a lot about my life right now. Focused. School is on my brain non-stop, and I like it. I had a great time at the conference because I went with friends, and we had been awarded enough travel money to cover much of our costs, and we had a little time to just relax and enjoy our intellectual selves.
This post is sort of boring. I'm sorry about that. I don't have much to complain about! The funniest part was in-car dancing to Gaga's "Born the Way" at about 6:20 AM on Friday. I also enjoyed our random detour to the Dewey-Humbolt Pumpkin Festival on the way home this evening. County Fair, anyone? The best food was a tie between our dinner out at the Tajmahal restaurant and the home cooking of my Turkish colleague (yes, practically tailgated at the conference with a cooler, paper plates and everything).
Yet more reassurance that I might be on the right track (thanks Gaga). Perhaps I was born this way?