Having heard a lot of things from various colleagues about previous IATEFL conferences, I was glad to finally get the chance to experience it myself. Of course, “finally getting the chance” isn’t entirely accurate as, until recently, I wasn’t even an IATEFL member, let alone thinking of attending! However, when I heard about the Speak for IH initiative, I thought, well, why not join and why not put in a speaker application and see what happens? I joined IATEFL and submitted my speaker proposal the day before the deadline and waited for the “… regret to inform you…” email.
It was thus something of a surprise to me when I heard that I had been accepted and that my workshop was going to be part of IATEFL Pronunciation Special Interest Group showcase. I therefore have IHWO to thank not only for supporting my session, but also for spurring me on to applying to speak in the first place. I have spoken at conferences before, but never at such a large one (with over 3,000 delegates) and never at one where delegates have paid quite a substantial fee to attend. This puts a certain amount of pressure on your shoulders, but I’m happy to report that my session was well-attended and seemingly went down rather well!
What makes IATEFL different is the sheer variety of delegates and delegate backgrounds; there are TEFL luminaries, newly-qualified EFL teachers, university lectures, students and publishing representatives from all over the world in attendance. I was asked a lot of interesting and thought-provoking questions after my workshop (that I wouldn’t have been asked at a local or in-house IH event) and which will inform any future speaking proposals I submit.
I would like to thank IHWO for supporting me, both with the Speak for IH grant and their encouragement at the conference in the build-up to my presentation. Speak for IH is a great initiative and I would encourage anyone who is thinking of branching out into the conference circuit or thinking of participating in an event for the first time to apply and see what happens!