EgerOnline

The 22nd international conference for English language teaching professionals by IATEFL Hungary


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Behind the scenes – reflecions by the conference organizers, part 2

Bujtás Barbara

How did you contribute to the success of the 22nd IATEFL-Hungary conference?

What I added to it was my relatively large international personal learning network. I’ve been connected to a large number of devoted teachers all around the world. Through social media I had the chance to let everyone know about the conference blog, which has had pretty high traffic, thus opening the conference to teachers who were not able to participate. I have received heart-warming messages from thousands of kilometers away, saying thank you for organizing such a great event.

What did you enjoy most about your conference-related work?

I loved both being a roving reporter and  moderating the ICT SIG TeachMeet on Sunday  morning. I had the opportunity to ask fantastic people. Without knowing much about journalism, we managed to make interviews of great value. The TeachMeet was my dream come true.

Now I know I love watching people getting together, inspiring each other and having a great time.

In what ways have you benefited from your work?

I recharged my batteries and  met online friends in person, which is something that keeps me going.

Among all the other amazing speakers I was delighted to meet Scott Thornbury, whose famous article on DOGME back in the last century changed my whole view on teaching. 🙂

Which aspect(s) of your work or achievement(s) as an organizer are you most proud of? Why?

The blog views (8568)  and the TeachMeet. I’m convinced that a huge part of ongoing professional development is learning from each other as professionals and artisans, interactivity, the personal touch.

Csíky Anna

How did you contribute to the success of the 22nd IATEFL-Hungary conference?

As SIG liaison, I helped plan the Young Learner and ICT SIG events – not sure whether chatting to amazing people like Barbi and Szandra counts as work though…  I smiled at a number of student helpers while giving them random tasks, mostly to do with setting up the conference on Friday and then clearing up on Sunday.  I moderated the reflection part of the Meet the Plenaries event and made lots of participants happy by drawing their raffle tickets.  And there was an awful lot of carrying desks and chairs, but that’s always the case if you spend enough time in Nóra’s company.

What did you enjoy most about your conference-related work?

Taking part in the ICT TeachMeet and actually witnessing what a huge success it was.  Remembering the first time Barbi brought the idea up, as well as all the discussions and changes around it, and then seeing how it finally worked out – very rewarding.

In what ways have you benefited from your work?

I think this was my first conference where I was not one of the main organizers, so the wonderful thing for me was that there was time to actually make it to the sessions.  I only missed out on one of the plenary talks and I really liked how the other five were very different from each other.  Discovering that there were sessions related to educational management was a very pleasant surprise and I ended up taking away ideas that I have already tried in the IH Budapest staffroom.

Which aspect(s) of your work or achievement(s) as an organizer are you most proud of? Why?

Signing out the “key to heaven” at the Líceum reception – because I can’t remember doing that before.

Tartsay Nóra

How did you contribute to the success of the 22nd IATEFL-Hungary conference?

Being one of the main organizers of the 22nd IATEFL-Hungary conference meant that I was involved in nearly all of the aspects of the event. I remember our December meeting with the committee where we agreed that we would like to have a conference that would focus on teaching as an enjoyable and fun activity. I also remember being in Eger a year ago at a conference and feeling absolutely convinced that this was an excellent city for our event. I was involved in planning the programme, inviting the exhibitors and speakers, finding the place to eat, thinking of the social activities (Lyceum tour, wine cellar visit, the karaoke party and the Eger sightseeing tour), ordering the conference bags, editing the brochure, coordinating the technical team, and many other issues.

There were, however, three activities I particularly enjoyed. First, I was in charge of coordinating the exhibitors – something I did for the first time, and something I learnt a lot from really. I was also responsible for the student helpers and volunteers, an extraordinary bunch of people who contributed a lot to the success of the conference. And most importantly, I was involved in the planning and preparation of Eger Online, the live coverage of the events.

What did you enjoy most about your conference-related work?

I am a team-player. Brainstorming and planning together as a team means a lot to me. I worked on different tasks with different people (Eger Online with Norbi and Zita, the programme and the brochure with Zsuzsi and Frank, the student helpers with Györgyi, etc.), and I very often felt how a team can be more creative and more productive than individual members. I enjoyed the pre-conference excitement, shaping the exhibitors’ hall, seeing the first partners and participants arriving, and greeting old friends and people I only met online before. Meeting the students I teach at the university I work for was also a special treat for me.

What did you enjoy least about your conference-related work?

It is probably easy to guess from the above lists of responsibilities and tasks that not everything went smoothly. We often worked late at night, especially with Norbi and Zsuzsi, and we had to solve numerous emerging problems in no time. During the conference, I was also approached by people who asked me where things were and how to solve this or that, and no matter how hard we tried, there were still some issues to deal with. Reading the feedback sheets from the participants and the exhibitors, it was really sad to see that we could not cope with everything. Also, I could attend far less sessions than I would have liked to. On Sunday, when we finally left Building B at 4 o’clock, all tidied up and empty, I was hesitant whether I did well enough or not. It was difficult.

In what ways have you benefited from your work?

The conference in Eger was the third one I helped organizing, and the first one when I was responsible for many different tasks. Knowing that I can rely on some really good friends makes this experience a very special one. I learnt a lot about planning (both content and finances), about cooperation and networking, about different cultures and how similar we all are. I have met some ELT celebrities, whose coursebooks I use in my teaching every week. However, the most important benefit for me is becoming a member of an international community.

Which aspect(s) of your work or achievement(s) as an organizer are you most proud of? Why?

I am immensely proud of Eger Online, and how well we could work together with Gálik Norbi and Gergely Zita. We have had this dream for two years now, and took the first steps last year already. But this year it was really special, and I feel good about the comments from colleagues who could not come to Eger on how useful the blog still is.

I am very proud of the IATEFL-Hungary committee, especially Lindner Zsuzsa, for making this conference special for a lot of people.

I am proud of all the positive feedback we received from participants and exhibitors. It was good to see teachers and students from places we had our conferences before, and who are now regular conference goers. I really hope to see some Eger colleagues next year in Budapest.

Tamás Katalin

How did you contribute to the success of the 22nd IATEFL-Hungary conference?

This was my first IATEFL conference when I was a helper-organizer. I think I could contribute with being where it was needed. First filling in around 200 conference bags by putting the conference booklet and all the materials in each of them together with wonderful Eger students. Later being at hand at the registration desk for the participants during registration and trying to answer their questions concerning the programs.

What did you enjoy most about your conference-related work?

Being and working at a conference is a very exciting time. I could get into the stream of what is going on in the profession of teaching English and I met a lot of old friends made new friends too and it was a nice feeling to be at hand when needed.

What did you enjoy least about your conference-related work?

An organizer just like an interpreter must know that they cannot be everywhere where they want to and cannot hear all the sessions they wanted to. But that does not make the experience worse.

In what ways have you benefited from your work?

This was the first time I was really involved in preparing IATEFL conference. I could meet some coursebook writers I had known from teaching from their books, met old friends and made new ones thus deepening the feeling of belonging to a very valuable international community.

Last but not least I am very proud that I was elected a committee member of IATEFL Hungary.

Which aspect(s) of your work or achievement(s) as an organizer are you most proud of? Why?

As far as I know there were no major complaints about the operations of the conference. It is not only the speakers that make a conference memorable and successful but the venue and the smooth organization. A well organized team where everybody knows what their task is plus they keep their eyes open to any problems to be solved is one of the ‘hidden’ keys of a successful event.

Check back regularly for Part 3 of ‘Behind the scenes’.

Edited by Gálik Norbert

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