As we wrap up the wonderful week of the 2010 MTNA Conference, I decided to make a list right away (before I forget!) of essential items that any conference-goer should include on their packing list. I forgot some of these, so I decided it was time to make an official check-list so that that doesn’t happen again. However, I would love it if you would contribute any additional items you can think of that should be included!
• business cards – exchange these with other teachers so you can keep in touch, check out their websites, etc.
• mailing labels – to fill out all the prize drawing coupons (it’s a pain to fill out all your contact information 50 times!).
• rolling bag – so you don’t kill your shoulder carrying bags full of all the free and purchased materials!
• camera – to take pictures with new and long-time friends and of any materials you want to have pictures of for future reference.
• small lunch bag/cooler – I typically pack my own lunch and then eat out for dinner with friends or other groups.
• notebook and pen or laptop – this is pretty much a given, but I figured I better include it since it is definitely an essential!
• list of specific products you want to look at and/or purchase – it helps to think through this ahead of time so that you can refrain from buying lots of stuff that you don’t really need just because the [sales] presentation is so convincing! Along those lines, even if you have a general idea of what sort of materials you’d like to look at, that can be very helpful (e.g. something to help students develop better listening skills, games for group classes, pedagogical books for personal development, etc.).
• phone numbers of people you want to meet up with during the conference – it can be surprisingly difficult to track someone down amongst the 1,000+ conference attendees; better to be intentional rather than just hope that you will happen to run across each other sometime during the conference!
Alright, that’s all I can come up with for now. Leave your suggestions in the comments below and I’ll update this and create a master list! Incidentally, for those who want to get it on their calendars, the 2011 MTNA Conference will be in Milwaukee, WI March 26-30. (And…even better…we found out that the 2012 MTNA Conference will be held in New York City! :-D)