I know many teachers who say they wish they could go to a math conference but they are not sure of the logistics of applying for funding, applying for leave, getting sub coverage, etc… I have gone to many conferences over the past 10 years and always return feeling rejuvenated and excited to do my job!
I have attended the NCTM Annual Conference although I may try a regional conference in the future. The following is based on my own experience; please review your school board and Article 60 guidelines before making plans.
Things to consider before booking your conference:
So now you have decided the conference, the city and travelling companions, here are some of the logistics of applying for funding:
Once you have gotten approval for leave and have confirmation on how much you will be reimbursed in expenses, it’s time to start planning your trip! I often scout out hotels and flights even before I have completed the steps above. My preference is to stay at one of the conference affiliated hotels. There are complimentary shuttle busses that run from the hotels to the conference centres all day. This is a big bonus in my eyes. Sometimes, I have used the shuttle busses just to get to another part of the city! You can find all the information about accommodations on the NCTM website. The best hotels (location or price) usually book up early. If I don’t have all the proper approval from my principal yet, I still reserve my hotel room. I can always cancel the reservation if plans fall through (unlike conference registration and plane tickets. Wait to book those!).
Take note of the early bird registration dates for the conference. It will save you about $50 if you register before a certain date. If you know of a bunch of people who are attending the same conference, investigate group rates. Also, I usually scour the internet for NCTM conference registration coupon codes. I once saved myself fifty dollars by using a random code I found online.
So now that you have gotten approval for leave and funding, registered for conference, reserved your room and booked your plane ticket, you need to plan your time at the conference. With thousands of sessions to choose from, selection can feel like a nightmare (similar to those many of us get in the days before a new school year begins). For this reason, you want to choose wisely. Like the first days of school, this planning you do in advance will certainly impact the days ahead.
More on strategies to navigate the conference booklet and choosing your sessions coming soon!