Paul, Kendia, Gavin, Mary, and I spent 7 hours driving from Fresno to Palm Springs. It was a total blast. Like being a kid again.
I believe that a conference is a gift YOU give to your self
It's nice if the district will pay your way. That will not always happen. I have often spent my own money and dragged my tent trailer to a KOA campground. I have slept on the floor of my colleagues room. I have even used a sick day to cover the sub.
You need to go. It's fun. You are surround by other science teachers. It is fun to see what our distant colleagues look like.
You get to be inspired by guest speakers. Over the years I have enjoyed Bob Ballard (Titanic, thermal vents, JASON), Ira Flatow from NPR:Science Friday, The Myth Busters, Jane Goodall, Dr. Glenn Seaborg ( element 106 named after him), Bill Nye and others.
At a conference you get a change of scene, you get to out for dinner and drinks with your colleagues.
I'VE BEEN LUCKY, I'VE ALWAYS HAD SOME COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS TO GO WITH. This really increases the fun factor. If you don't have anyone to go with, bring your spouse, your significant other, your mother or dad or Bro or Sis or Son or Daughter ,or just your best friend.
JUST GO...AND BRING A PAL WITH YOU
I have also found lots of labs and activities, goodies, toys, lab equipment, T-shirts and FREE STUFF!
This is great professional development for credential renewal.
If you present, You will be amazed how appreciative people are for what you have shared. It makes you feel appreciated. It's good for the soul.
If it's a textbook adoption year you WILL BE WINED AND DINED! We got a free harbour cruise dinner in San Francisco several years ago. (kinda makes you feel like a congress person surrounded by lobbyists)
CAUTION: DO NOT STAND BETWEEN A TEACHER AND A FREE ITEM AT A CONFERENCE
I Hope this helps,
Love to Teach and Teach with Passion
Remember...It's not Magic, It's Science