This post was written in August 2019, long before we realized that it would be impossible to hold the conference in Agen in 2020. We then went on-line with the help of Karen Rowan and over 300 teachers registered for the on-line conference. In 2021 it seemed to me that, in spite of the success of the on-line Agen Workshop, our true identity is as an in person conference. In spite of the continued travel restrictions 50 teachers came to the lovely little town of Agen in 2021 and we were 75 in 2022. I find it interesting to reread my words from three years ago and see how they hold up today.
The end of the conference always seems to come too fast, before I’ve had a chance to chat with so many people that I was looking forward to seeing. So, I’m writing this with a bit of nostalgia, wishing you all could have stayed longer, so you and I could sit down somewhere quiet and have a nice talk. (This is how I still feel. I sometimes think that I should not teach the Advanced English Lab so that I’ll be free to visit other Labs and get to know participants better. But I have so much fun with that class! And I know that some of my students actually organize their holidays so that they can attend.)
Someone told me my newsletters should have bullet points, so I’ll try to be brief, but I have a lot of important things to say, so please be patient and read all of my meanderings.
– Thank you! Thank you for your immense patience during the horrible heat. I’ve always dreaded having a heat wave during the conference and this year it happened. You were brave and uncomplaining and I appreciate your kindness more than I can ever say. We are planning now to be better prepared for such weather next year. I will probably send out a newsletter for an opinion poll on some of the options. Please note that this week the weather is beautiful with a pleasant breeze and sunshine, the kind of weather I Was hoping for last week. (In 2022 we were fortunate. The heat wave came early, granted us a bit of rain and cooler weather during the week of the conference and then returned. We were wiser than in 2019 and avoided having too many people in a room and did not have any plenary sessions.)
– Next year. A great many people said they are coming back next year. We will have to limit the number to 120 as I did this year. Our organization could not handle any more without changes that we don’t want to make. So, if you do want to come back, don’t wait too long to register. The dates are July 27th to August 1st. (There is a special price of 325 euros for those who register in August, an Early-Early-Bird price. The August price allows Agen veterans to come back at a lower price. In 2023 the conference will begin on July 24th and end on July 29th.)
– Prices. In order to have a sound system, some air coolers and better technology, we will have to raise the price. Since I don’t know any billionaire teachers, I want to keep the conference as affordable as possible, but I will have to increase the price. Not enough to make anyone rich, but it should allow us to make ends meet and to be better equipped. But, if you want a really special price … read below. (The budget did work out so that the post pandemic price did not go up. Now, however, in order to continue to meet rising prices I shall have to increase the cost of registration.)
– Early-early bird price for veterans during the month of August: 325 euros. On September 1st the “Early Bird” price will be 455 euros. After March 1st, the price will be 595 euros. The registration form is now posted here: https://theagenworkshop.com/
– The “banquet”. I was very disappointed in the way the hotel organized the final lunch. It was much better in other years, as many of you know. I will be exploring other options for next year. (In 2023 we were able to use the shaded courtyard of a primary school for a picnic. Those who remembered the former “banquets” liked the change, finding it easier to move around and chat with everyone.)
– Feedback. Again, thank you for filling in the feedback forms and getting them to me. Obviously, many of you took time to give thoughtful replies. If you have more to say or didn’t get a form, feel free to e-mail me your ideas. (Reading feedback is a wonderful high for me, seeing that the work put into organizing the conference has created so many opportunities for growth and progress and making new friends.)
Finally, please believe that I realized, several years ago, that what makes our conference different and so amazing is the wonderful, generous, delightful, kind and thoughtful teachers from around the world that keep coming back. (So true. People keep coming back to see old and new friends.)
Hoping to see you in Agen again in 2022…. ( In 2023!)
Love and hugs,