If you’re a teacher in Alberta, what better place is there to come together, learn new techniques, and find out about changes in the industry than a teachers’ convention? Whether you’re an experienced convention goer or brand new attendee, read on for our tips to help you get the most out of your teacher’s convention.

1. Think about your environment

If there’s no other tip you take away from this list, take this one (and its subsections). The more you prepare in advance for your day at the convention, the better prepared you’ll be for navigating any small hiccups that could take away from your overall experience. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it covers four points that everyone should take into account.

  • Know how you’ll get there (and back)

Whether you’re staying at a friend’s house or you’ve reserved a hotel room nearby, it pays to find the easiest way to get to and from the convention. If you’re taking the bus, find out how early and late the buses run along your route. If you’re driving, find out if the convention centre has parking, or if there are parking lots or street parking available for a lower rate close by.

  • Dress for the weather

It wouldn’t be the Alberta prairies if the weather didn’t change on a dime. Dressing for the weather is a must. It may be inconvenient to carry your layers around all day, but you’ll be able to easily adjust yourself to a chilly room or travel between convention buildings. Additionally, many hotels provide coat check services for a nominal fee.

  • Consider dietary restrictions and allergies

Many restaurants and caterers have adapted their offerings to accommodate for lactose-free, paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, and other diets. That being said, packing a bottle of water and a couple of snacks (or bringing your lunch with you) can help you save money, skip lengthy lines, and save you the frustration of limited or nonexistent eating options.

  • Bring what you need to capture the information you learn

Some people prefer jotting down notes with paper and pen, some people like tweeting about the highlights they’re hearing, and some people just remember what they hear. Whatever method speaks the most to you, go with it! Just remember to bring the tools you need. If you like taking notes on your tablet, it might be a good idea to bring a portable charger. A trusty, traditional notebook doesn’t need recharging, but make sure you bring more than one pen, just in case.

2. Book your sessions ahead of time

There are few feelings that compare to getting to an event you’ve been looking forward to, only to find it is completely sold out. Take a couple of minutes to research the speakers, topics, and whether or not you need to register for the sessions you’re interested in. This will allow you to avoid missing out on important information and make informed decisions during the conference itself.

3. Find other ways to get the information you’re missing

A popular trend at conventions is to offer live video, webcasts, or recap blogs of the different sessions. If you can’t get into a session and don’t have an acquaintance you can share notes with, take a look at the convention website and see if you can access session information in another way. It also pays to monitor social media for convention hashtags—lots of people live tweet the events they attend.

4. Make time to connect

It can be pretty tempting to pack your day with all the sessions it can possibly fit. Doing so, however, may put you at risk of missing out on another very important aspect of conventions—connecting with people. With a whole convention’s worth of people, you’d be hard pressed to find a better time to make a new acquaintance or reconnect with an old coworker. This will give you the chance to share some new ideas, hear different opinions, and build your network.

Hopefully these tips will help you start your convention season off on the right foot and make your experience comfortable, informative, and (most importantly) enjoyable. From all of us at ADLC, have a fantastic time!

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