I’m an avid conference goer. Ever since my first conference presentation almost 25 years ago, I’ve loved attending conferences and learning more about my field. Conferences are not just about the actual presentations. They are also about the conversations around those presentations in the hallways, over drinks and dinner, and on car rides home. I often use conferences as opportunities to see people I haven’t seen in a long time who are attending the conference or who live nearby, which spawns other great conversations.
I find conferences tend to reinvigorate me and recommit me to my work, because they bring me back to why I do what I do in the first place. Presentations at conferences are often showcase the good things that are happening–in the classroom, at a school, within a field–and so there’s always an inspirational and aspirational aspect to them. You either think, “Okay, someone else is able to do that, so can I. Maybe we’ll try it when we get home.” Or you think, “We’re already doing that. Yay us!”
It’s also great to hear from people who have different perspectives. It allows you to see things from a different point of you, which maybe helps you solve a problem that’s gotten really thorny. But now that you see it differently, you have a way to approach it and maybe solve it.
And if you’re lucky enough to be with colleagues, you get to spend some quality time with them. You find out about their families, their first jobs, the foods they like and don’t like. You round out your view of them, which is always a good thing. And usually, you find out that you work with some amazing people and that you are looking forward to going back to work with them on Monday.
I got all of that out of NAIS this week, and I will write more about the specifics in a later post, but I just wanted to put a plug in for getting out of your bubble, getting some inspiration, and connecting with others for a couple of days.