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preparation for iatefl harrogate

A park with lush green grass, multiple flower beds on a sunny day. People are sitting, relaxing and enjoying the day. In the background are Victorian buildings, possibly some shops.
Image of Harrogate by Illiya Vjestica on Unsplash

In a similar way to last year’s post on preparation for IATEFL Belfast, I thought I’d do a similar one for Harrogate.

It’s a little different to last year as I’ll be going to an area I used to live in. I spent about four years living in York, working for a private English language school, and although I’ve been back to the city since, this is the first time I’ll be returning to Harrogate. It’s a beautiful area and if you get the chance (and time), check out Knaresborough, which is about 15 minutes’ drive away (or even 10 minutes by train). Apart from Knaresborough being absolutely stunning, you can also visit Mother Shipton’s Cave and the petrifying well.

The other thing that’s different this year is that I’m giving a workshop. Now, many seasoned presenters may think that’s not such a big thing, but for me, it’s huge.

My presentation is prepared, the interaction is expected – let the workshop begin! Well, on Thursday 20 April at 2.15pm in Queen’s Suite 3 – right after lunch.

I’m also going to reproduce the list of tips that I added to last year’s post with some extras:

  1. You don’t have to do everything. This is why there is a wide selection of talks to go to. Pick those that you are really interested in – don’t feel guilty about not going to a colleague’s talk (unless they have expressly asked you to be there for support!)
  2. When planning your time at conference, don’t forget to plan time to break. This can be overlooked and you don’t want to burn out. This could even be a morning or afternoon away. If you want to plan, you could use this pdf planner I made.
  3. If you need to, get away for half an hour or longer. In previous conferences I’ve attended, I’ve needed to just get out for a bit – the crowds can be overwhelming. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time for yourself. Finding a quiet spot somewhere inside may be challenging, but there may be spaces outside if the weather is good.
  4. Be aware that some people are different when online or in a zoom meeting (me, for example); some people may be quieter or talk more – this is just a method of coping with the situation.
  5. If you want to, and can, go to the Mindfulness sessions at the beginning of each day – but again, don’t feel guilty if you don’t.
  6. Don’t be insistent on people joining a social event – after a full day at conference, it may be the last thing on some people’s minds.
  7. Do what makes the conference enjoyable for you.
  8. As this year I’m driving, I’ll be bringing along my Nordic walking poles, and I hope to find some time to use them. Perhaps you practise yoga or meditation – don’t forget to bring anything to help you do these.
  9. Business cards: yes, they are still a thing. Bring them. Or do what I’ve done, and have a touch business card which can be used to ‘touch’ any kind of phone and *bam* there are my details.

I’m hoping that there will be some quiet areas in the conference centre where people can go just for a relax or some quiet time.

Aside from that, I’m looking forward to catching up with freelance and non-freelance colleagues, making some new connections as well as connecting with companies who are interested in DEI work.

What about you? What are you looking forward to at IATEFL?

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