The three questions I have heard the most:
"Is it your first time here?"
"How are you finding it?"
I use a map. (Sometimes people laugh.)
"Do you miss America?"
Not very much. I'm from Canada.
Not that these are complaints. Quite the contrary actually! I love the chatting and networking that's been happening so far.
As far as Conference goes, I can't help but compare experiences here to similar experiences I have had with unions and political organisations in Canada.
In the main, the setting and experience are quite similar, but some things which have emerged stand in stark contrast. For example, to speak to a motion one has to know a full day in advance and submit a speaker's card and be randomised and "genderised" so that women and men speak alternately. This, of course, is becoming quite common, but the need to register in advance to speak does seem to take away an element of spontaneity. On the flip side, though, there has been an increase in first-time speakers and a decrease in "old blokes" taking all the time on the microphone.
The terribly-shot image above probably gives some indication as to the enthusiasm of the crowds (in this case, jostling for refreshment).
It was a pleasure to attend a reception for Young Teachers, hosted by the charming and dynamic Laura Chisholm. We also received some really heartfelt greetings from newly-minted NUT President Max Hyde, pictured with Laura below.