5. Bring your family
I know we sometimes prefer to get away from family, but consider turning the PCTELA conference into a family weekend. Our Executive Board specifically chooses locations that offer fun, family-friendly entertainment (Lancaster’s outlet shopping, Pittsburgh’s vibrant city and theater venues, Penn State’s wineries and restaurants). Friday evening and Saturday evening after the conference, as well as all day Sunday, could add up to quite a bit of quality time! Plus, most conference sites have a pool and other facilities that children could enjoy during the day while you’re at the conference.
4. Attend the Author’s Breakfast on Saturday morning
Yes there’s an extra fee. It’s $25. But you know what you’re getting for $25? Face time with authors who are genuinely interested in chatting with you. A hot breakfast. A sense of community and camaraderie. Free books. An exciting experience that you can describe to your students to get them more engaged in writing and reading. Did I mention the free books yet?
PCTELA is always looking for a few people to do odd jobs throughout the weekend. Sometimes we need someone to count how many people attend each session, or introduce one of the keynote speakers, or watch over the PCTELA table, or hand out registration information, or stuff bags with freebies on Thursday evening, or pick up speakers from the airport, or… (you get the idea). Volunteering is one of the fastest ways to get involved and have more fun at the conference. Email me to see what’s available this year.
2. Remember that this is YOUR conference!
Sometimes it’s better to just sit with a group of people and process rather than try to cram anything else into our brains. Take time throughout the weekend to stop and talk — the roundtable sessions give you an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics. Also, if you accidentally attend a session that doesn’t pertain to you, get up and move to a different session. This is absolutely YOUR conference, so make the most of it!
1. Talk to the keynote speakers and authors!!!
They don’t bite. Authors will often stay to sign books, attend concurrent sessions, and maintain a general presence at our PCTELA conferences. Since PCTELA provides a more intimate venue than the large national conferences, we get special face-time with the authors! While attending PCTELA conferences in the past… I’ve eaten dinner with Lois Lowry, talked with Donalyn Miller, joked with Chris Crutcher, and was honored to pick up Linda Christensen from the airport (an hour of one-on-one time with a very prestigious individual!). Getting involved with PCTELA could lead you to experiences like this also!
Posted by Allison Irwin, Executive Director of PCTELA