Summer conference is like teacher summer camp. It is a great chance to network with other teachers across Massachusetts and to learn more about the benefits of union membership. I first attended summer conference two years ago as part of the New Member Program. One of the aspects I enjoyed most about the five days was sharing my story of how I got into education and hearing the stories of others. I had just finished my first year of teaching and in that year I found that I mostly talked about what was going on at school. Sometimes, I felt like I was boring my friends who were not in education by always telling them stories– like the time a seventh grade student ate paper in class! During the New Member Program, it was wonderful to be surrounded by people who were also interested in discussing lesson plans or how to build rapport with students while enjoying wine at one of the many social events. So with summer conference being less than two weeks away here are some things to keep in mind before coming to Amherst.
What to Bring:
If you are part of the New Member Program you will most likely be staying in the North Residence Halls, which are suite-style housing. They are also air conditioned, so you do not need to bring a fan with you!
You are provided with a linen pack including two flat sheets, a pillow and case, two towels and a blanket. To be honest, I am picky about sheets and blankets, so I always bring my own. If you’d feel more comfortable in your own sheets, bring them! Many people bring their own pillow as well. Also, make sure your bring your own toiletries.
As for clothes, summer conference if on the more casual side. Jeans, shorts and t-shits or casual sundresses are fine to wear. Keep in mind that some events, like the opening day picnic on Monday, are outside. Many other sessions are inside and if you get cold because of the air conditioning, it might be a good idea to bring a sweater or sweatshirt.
One of the best parts about summer conference are the many social events sponsored by different committees of the MTA. Of course the best social events is the New Member Committee Opening Day Dance. This year the dance is on Monday, August 1st (which happens to be the birthday of committee member Jenn Maio). The dance will have a DJ, lawn games and decorations to go with our amazing theme. There will definitely be line dances like “The Wobble” and “Cupid Shuffle” that are always a blast! Earlier on Monday there will be a wine and cheese, which is a great opportunity to get to bond with other members of the program. On Tuesday, there is a social sponsored by the MTA Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Issues Committee and an ice cream party sponsored by MTA ESP Committee & Educators Insurance Agency.
There is also a dance on Tuesday night sponsored by EMAC, the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee. Wednesday night is the Bash, the last big party of Summer Conference that normally has a band.
If you are part of the New Member Program, then you will be pretty busy during the day on Monday and Wednesday. However, on Tuesday you will have the afternoon off. This is a great chance to attend another workshop, check out things in the area or nap.
- Bring what makes you feel comfortable in your dorm room, but know there will be sheets and towels for you to use.
- Casual dress is acceptable. Remember that there are a few outdoor activities and the indoor locations are air-conditioned.
- Be prepared for a bunch of fun social events that provide you with networking opportunities.
So here is my insider guide to help you get ready for the MTA Summer Conference. Tweet, message, or e-mail us if you have any questions. See you soon!
Post written by Melanie Levine, a New Member Committee Member.
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