What a Relief


Earlier this month I had the pleasure of presenting 2 workshops for the Teacher Learning Network, at their annual conference for Casual Relief Teachers.

I was to talk about “Creating an Online Digital Portfolio” with a group of teachers who need and deserve much respect and support. Being my first conference presentation I felt a little nervous. At different stages during my 2 hour presentations relief swept over me for different reasons. Here’s what happened.

Encourage Discussions and Share Experiences
We began with the mandatory “getting to know you” task where I asked people to share…

  • their favourite/most successful activity to do with kids when no work is left
  • their most memorable CRT experience

I was relieved to be immersed in a lively discussion about fun activities and stories of survival under the most difficult circumstances. There was engagement rather than silence.

This BBC video stimulated lively discussions about handling challenging students.

Have a Laugh
Having a giggle at “The Paperless Future of Emma” helped me deliver the message of what’s happening in schools…the pressure to go digital. Laughter is excellent for relieving stress. 

Be Prepared
Sure enough, present at a conference about IT and there’s bound to be challenging moments with connectivity. I experienced off the scale relief when my iPhone smoothly eased into the role of WiFi Hotspot.


Watch your Tech Talk
The CRT’s had a range of experiences with technology at the schools they worked in. For some, everything was new and confusing. By showing empathy towards their situation, it was a relief to experience their willingness to learn new ways of doing things.

Share Ideas and Solutions
From any professional development session people expect to leave with something useful to apply to their work. Pre-empting a request for ideas, examples and handouts for how to get started with a digital portfolio, I was relieved to have something to offer.

How do you prepare for a conference and find relief from your nerves?