I have written many articles over the last few years about conferences; reviewing sessions and presenters, and lamenting missing sessions. Early this year I was chatting with Mrs C21 about this years conferences and which ones I would or would not attend decided that I would make a change.
My current role with ClickView has me travelling quite regularly, being away from my family for a week at a time, three times a term (this year, anyway). That is part of the job and we knew that would be a factor when I took the job. However, we are also playing that incredibly difficult game called save a deposit for a house.
Given those two factors, I have made the decision that I will not be attending any conferences this year other than those that I attend as part of my role with ClickView. This will save me being away even more, save us a significant amount of money - conferences are not cheap but then you have to factor in flights, accommodation, and food - and also it reduces the amount of annual leave I have to take. A two day conference would require me to take two or three days of annual leave depending on where it is, maybe even four days. With ClickView having a Christmas shutdown period, I need to ensure that I have sufficient leave to take over the summer without getting caught short.
There were a number of conferences that I was looking at this year. The On Butterfly Wings group is planning a conference in Sydney which looks to be excellent and will be focusing on mindfulness for teachers (register here), and I was very much looking forward to the new format for FlipConAus, which is being held in Melbourne this year at Monash University (info and register here).
Ultimately though, I have to make the best decision for my family and Ms One is so much fun right to be with right now (other than teething). I do not want to look back in years to come and decide that I regret taking time to go to conferences but ultimately missed out on time with my family. For this year at least, I will only be attending conferences that are part of my role with ClickView and not attending any others.