The ISJL Conference

I knew something was wrong when Delta called me at 10:30 in the morning to tell me that my flight from Atlanta to White Plains nine hours later was delayed by 75 minutes due to a “late inbound aircraft.” It was the second leg of my journey home from Jackson, so a delay would just mean an inconvenience, not a missed connection, but I had to wonder: How did Delta know nine hours in advance that my commuter jet would arrive late? Unless it was coming in from Rome, something else was going on.

So I checked the timing of my Jackson-Atlanta flight, and rebooked myself on a continuing leg to LaGuardia. It would mean a longer taxi ride home, but it seemed like a surer bet.

Just as I got to Jackson’s charming airport, though, Delta called me again. My Jackson-Atlanta flight was also delayed, by an hour, so I would miss the connection to my newly booked flight to LaGuardia. But the flight to White Plains was now delayed even more, so I had plenty of time to catch that, even with the delay on the first leg.

But I could see the writing on the wall. Even though Delta thought the plane would still take off for White Plains, experience told me that it would eventually be canceled. (I was right, and as it turned out, the flight to Atlanta would ultimately leave many hours late, too.) So rather than risk getting stuck in Atlanta, I opted to stay in Jackson one more night.

In the end I didn’t mind, though. Delta recognized that the delays were their fault, and took good care of me.

And in typical exemplary fashion, so did my conference hosts. I even got to follow up on a conversation I began during the conference that brought me to Jackson in the first place.

The conference, run by the ISJL, was among the most welcoming and enjoyable that I’ve attended. The ISJL staff were warm and friendly, the participants were engaging without being overbearing, and the program was well organized and well run. It was a joy to be there.

Mostly I was presenting on pedagogy, including why I allow cell phones in my classes. I also had two book-signing sessions.

Now I’m back in New York for a while, enjoying the beautiful summer weather. (In Jackson, I tried to go for a walk at dusk, but at 90+ degrees it was still too hot.) I’m also looking forward to my next education conference this summer, but I have to say, the ISJL has set the bar of excellence very high.

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