IATEFL and the Green-Eyed Monster
Jealousy, it’s a terrible emotion but one we are all familiar with, and perhaps even a humanity defining one. That the green-eyed monster often should rear its ugly head when we see the rich and famous gallivanting around in their Lear jets sporting their expensive Apple watches is one thing. But it is worse, and perhaps far more intense, when it pops up because of something our friends, relatives and colleagues are doing.
Unfortunately, at the moment, it feels like I am watching some version of Monsters, Inc, populated just by thousands of versions of an annoying and hyperactive Mike Wazowski.
Yes, I am jealous because a number of my so-called friends will soon be packing their bags, checking their passports still valid, buying ludicrously expensive pounds and then heading off to Manchester in the UK for the annual IATEFL conference. I am jealous because, as well as being shallow, I was there last year in Harrogate and so I know what I am going to miss.
What I will miss the most isn’t the great presentations by the big names, or the often more interesting talks by the lesser lights of ELT. It certainly isn’t the pre-talk nerves that I had before my own presentation on Linguistic Landscapes. It isn’t the parties held by the publishers with free food, beer and wine, although I will miss them quite a bit.
The absence that I will feel the most is the opportunity to meet up with friends from around the world who I haven’t seen in ages, or the people I know from conversations on the internet but never had the chance to meet in person, or even the totally new people who is a friend of a friend of a friend. It is the encounters with these people where we discussed teaching, and life in general, that I will miss. The things that I learned last year from these sometimes conversations were priceless.
So what can I do, apart from praying the immigration queues are incredibly long and laughing as the price of the pound continues to soar?
Two years ago I was involved in a project to blog about the IATEFL conference from afar as the British Council filmed and streamed a number of the talks at the conference. I assume they will be doing the same thing this year so at the very least we can watch some of the talks and maybe even write about them.
There will also be people tweeting about the conference and posting things on Facebook. It isn’t the same as being there, but it is the next best thing and a whole lot cheaper.
So if you are going to Manchester I hope it doesn’t rain too much for you, and that it isn’t too cold. I hope the beer isn’t too expensive and the trains aren’t too packed. I hope you realise how lucky you are and you make the most of it while I battle to keep the green-eyed monster at bay and try to keep up with things from the other end of a computer screen.