While on the train to Birmingham, I posted on facebook that I was enjoying my first class seat (is there any other way to travel!? ha ha.) I was heading to the Education Show 2015. Almost immediately, I had a friend interject with a comment that he thought taxpayers’ money should be spent at grassroots level, in the classroom, on the children, and not on “jolly outings to events, in 1st class”. So there I was, thinking “woooaaahhh”, I put him in his place and said that I PAID for my own travel ticket, I’m going on a weekend and the event is free to attend, as it’s sponsored by educational companies. Result. Checkmate 🙂
This got me thinking then, about why it is that teachers and other people involved in schools give up part of their weekends to attend some of the many educational conferences out there? Surely it’s not for the freebies!? A friend and I were joking about the absurdity of people being excited at free pens. I mean, they’re not expensive, pens, are they? We can buy our own any time we want to, no!?!
3 separate events were trending at the weekend; EdShow15, LanguageWorld15 and ASCL2015, so that is quite a few teachers involved in giving up part of their weekend. But why do they do it?
The answer is, maybe, why not?! Personally, having only ever attended 2 education shows (both of them so far, this year) I have to admit, I didn’t really know much about them, but now I think I know why we do it. It’s brilliant to be able to see new technologies and ideas, in real-life and get to ask more questions about them. It’s inspiring to see what some teachers are doing in their own classrooms and get ideas which we can take immediately back into ours, straight away, come Monday. It’s reassuring to hear someone speak; whose ideas align with your own, or challenge you to see things in another way. It’s informative to keep up with the latest discussion and changes in a fast-paced profession, like ours. I personally also think it’s just nice to meander around the stalls and get to grips with your own thoughts and practice, in a job where you’re always thinking about others.
Let’s also not forget how great it can be to connect with colleagues and people you’ve met on Twitter and share ideas in real life. If you’ve never been to a show, I highly recommend giving one a go, but do go armed with an idea of what you hope to get out of it. Plan your visit in advance and charge your phone! Take note of who’s speaking and aim to see as many talks as you’re interested in. Perhaps also, don’t do what I did and start with Bett as your 1st one; the Education Show is much more wide-ranging, whereas Bett (although fantastic) is VERY tech-heavy and can, perhaps, be quite daunting and confusing for a newbie.
Finally, let’s be honest, everyone DOES love a freebie, don’t they? Even if it is just a pen.