Thursday, October 30, 2008

NCPTW '08 - Las Vegas, Day 2

I did actually manage to spend the entire day in Las Vegas today, although today was the antithesis of yesterday; I stayed very close to my hotel and didn’t wander more than 2 blocks from it.

My poster session was in the morning, so I skipped the plenary session (which I am now sorry I missed) as well as the first session so I could set up. The other posters were pretty impressive, and many of them were a lot better than mine. This was, at the beginning, not my finest hour; I got swamped with insecurity and felt completely ignored by everyone. (I’m finding these conferences very difficult to go to alone; nearly everyone else has traveled with folks from their own academic institutions, and/or has long-standing relationships with many of the other conference attendees, so I was feeling very out of place.) I’m not sure if I was imagining the two women whose poster was next to mine giving me some rather disapproving glances, but I certainly felt hypersensitive.

Fortunately, things really picked up; a lot of people came over to ask questions, and take a handout, of which all but two of the 50 copies I made disappeared (and one of those I had designated the table copy). Bringing as many handouts was a good idea; I didn’t think they would all disappear and was relieved when they were taken. Also a good plan: Bringing business cards with my Web site URL on it, so I could refer people to that. Nearly all the feedback was positive, and those who approached and asked questions seemed genuinely interested in my experience. Quite a few just took a handout, of course, which was also fine – there’s so much information at these conferences that it’s easy to get overloaded, so I can appreciate just taking something to read later. One or two attendees seemed to be very scrutinizing, which was actually fine, but I felt I didn’t quite answer questions to their satisfaction. One fellow asked if I had a methods page, which I didn’t – and which actually would have been a good idea to include. Another fellow asked, after I had explained my research, what was sociological about my research (I had titled my poster and presentation as “Sociology as Training: The Sociology Being Used In Tutoring Reflection & Analysis”); he finally accepted my answer, albeit somewhat grudgingly, saying it was the sociological aspect of linguistics.

Well, perhaps.

In any case, after my session I dropped off the poster at my hotel, partook in a Flash Mob (wherein I got a button), and found lunch at Johnny Rocket’s before staying for part of a session about podcasting in writing centers. I was fading a bit, but after a nap I went to a Special Interest Group (SIG) geared towards writing centers in secondary schools, which was pretty interesting; discussion centered on problems and concerns of writing center work in secondary schools.

And, I went (along with Courtney, Harry, and a few other folks) to the Indian restaurant I had wanted to go to, Origin India, for dinner. It was, I have to admit, very good: South Indian grilled fish as an appetizer, and lamb.

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