KOTESOL International Conference: 5 Reasons To Go

by Wayne Finley, 27/09/2016

On October 15, Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul will play host to the KOTESOL International Conference. The prize jewel in the crown of KOTESOL, illustrious educators from far and wide will touch down for a weekend of educational fun and festivities. Presentations and workshops galore, there’ll be something for everyone. One teacher who is particularly looking forward to the conference is Wayne Finley, who has been camping outside the venue since Chuseok. Here are five mouth-watering reasons why you should share in his KOTESOL International Conference addiction...

1) It’s practical.
When I first heard about the KOTESOL International Conference I thought it would be stuffy and pretentious. Not a place for ordinary teachers. Teachers who just want to sit down, learn something practical and take something home and put straight to use in their classrooms. I was wrong. While some presentations are basically research paper recitals, the majority of presentations are engaging and useful. With so many different presentations and workshops on offer, there is something for everyone. If you do indeed find yourself inside a research paper sermon, nobody would hold it against you for walking out. It’s not a church.

2) Meet cool people.
If you’d have asked me to draw a portrait of the average KOTESOL–goer before I actually went, I’d have drawn someone like Tobias Fünke from Arrested Development. The human embodiment of wearing socks and sandals. Again, wrong. Not just normal people go to the International Conference, but cool people as well. Instead of walking onto the set of The Big Bang Theory, it is like walking onto Happy Days. For every Tobias, there’s a Fonz. It’s no accident that a lot of people have made lasting friendships at the conference, and in some cases, even marriages. Me? I was just content with the free bag and program book they give the first 200 people who arrive on the door.

3) A Good Day Out.
The International Conference lasts for two days. That’s two great excuses for me to leave the house. Most weekends I’m cooped up in my apartment watching football, playing videogames and dreaming of a social life. The conference allows me to join a social event and make it look like I’m not going because I’m terribly bored and lonely. You can spend the whole two days having conversations about teaching, rather than making the kind of small talk that makes you want to gouge your eyes out.

4) Impress your boss.
Everybody wants a promotion. Everybody wants more money. Everybody wants to be the show-off at work. Not everybody gets those things. The International Conference makes those dreams a reality. As soon as you get back from the conference people can’t wait to ask you about it. ‘Wow, how was the conference? I should’ve gone.’ They now think you’re some kind of serious educator, and all you did was listen to a bunch of people share their teaching ideas. The next time your boss is looking to promote, it won’t be your co-worker who spends his/her weekends gargling soju who gets the break, but you, the passionate educator who even thinks about teaching on weekends.

5) It’s just the beginning.
After you go to the International Conference you’ll be amazed to learn that there’s loads more conferences. In Korea. Almost every month there’s a conference somewhere. Seoul, Busan, Daejeon, Daegu…even Jeju. Now you have an excuse to leave the house every month. What’s more, if you really want brownie points, you can even volunteer to present one of your own ideas. That’s what I do now; it guarantees me free entry and a cool certificate that I can show off to people who are impressed by that sort of thing (my parents).

If those five reasons made you froth at the mouth, you can learn more about the KOTESOL International Conference here. It’s a website with lots of information on it. You can pre-register for the conference and save yourself some cash, or you can just arrive at the door on October 15. A free goodie bag, a program book and a hug awaits the first 200 attendees. For a summary of information, you can check out the K4E annoucement here.

Wayne Finley is currently teaching English at Korea Polytechnic University. While his social life isn’t quite as bleak as he says, he is very passionate about education and loves to share his experiences with other teachers. At the conference Wayne will be speaking in his distinctively British accent on the topic of how to teach pronunciation. Cheers!

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