9 Tips for Successfully Attending a Teaching Conference

  1.  Determine specific goals for your conference attendance.  Be specific.  Ask yourself what information do I want to gain?   (Example:  If you’re going to a reading conference you might think, I need ideas for improving my students’ comprehension or I need to learn new strategies for improving fluency.)
  2. Once you know your goals, let them guide you as you choose presentations to attend.  Keep asking yourself, will this session help me meet one of my goals?   (It’s wise to have a first and second choice for each session because sometimes a speaker has to cancel due to an emergency.  Having a second choice will keep you from frantically looking for a good session at the last minute.)
  3. Never feel badly about quietly leaving a session if you’re not getting the information you hoped for.  Sometimes the blurbs in the brochures don’t match the speaker’s content.  Unfortunate, but  true.  You are prepared with a second choice, so move on.
  4. Network as you stand in lines.  Ask the teacher in front of you for the best thing she’s learned or her best teaching tip.
  5. Take as few valuables to the conference as possible.
  6. Bring a sweater and wear comfy shoes.  Temperatures vary from room to room, so bring a sweater or layers you can add or subtract at will.  Go for comfort over style so you can listen to speakers without your feet throbbing from walking in your most stylish shoes.
  7. Bring some food.  While other people are out standing in long lines, you’ll be in your hotel room with your feet up.  In addition, you’ll have something to nibble on between sessions or throughout the day when you’re feeling snacky.
  8. Each evening, make time to review your notes from the sessions you attended that day.
  9. Determine the top two to three ideas you learned and think about how you can implement them in your classroom.  Once they are implemented, revisit your notes and plan your next move.  Remember, attending a conference only pays off when you apply what you learned to change your teaching.