Diane Ting
Cecilia Sharpley
Karen Ter Haar

From the Tutors' Points of View

Almost a month has passed since the MAPs team has returned from beautiful Lake Macquarie, in New South Wales, Australia, and, as we look back, we are primarily filled with a sense of poignancy - for those things which have passed, and will never be again.

Without doubt, as astutely commented upon by a member of the Cyberscribes, there is a certain magical excitement in the 'first' of anything - and the 1st Australian MAPs Conference was no different. For the students, it was the unknown quantity of the calibre of the teachers, and the content of the workshops. However, they may speak for themselves, for we would not be so bold as to make grandiose assumptions!

From the standpoint of the three tutors, it was a sense of unexplored territory: a new location, a group of 'strangers' to meet, greet and teach, a non-familiar teaching environment - and so on.

We can still remember the feeling on that first Sunday of 'disconnection' - the disconnection of the 'unknown'. The names of the participants were well familiar to us - after all, each workshop attendee received a hand-made folder with their names on the outside, and individual name-tags on the inside...but the knowing of a name told us nothing of the person attached to it.

At the end of that first day, the strange feelings that enveloped us had evaporated - we were at ease with our surroundings, and we knew those people who had only been symbols on pieces of paper prior to our arrival.

The sense of poignancy comes mainly from the inevitable loss of strangers who became, at the end of eleven solid days, friends. While we know in our hearts we will return to New South Wales, we also know that fate and circumstance surely dictate that some of these very special people will not pass our way again - and we will miss their bright and happy faces, their courage, stamina, overwhelming enthusiasm, skill, and their wonderful ability to make us feel like a most important part of their lives - even if for such a brief and shining moment.