I am a proud TESOLER!
I decided to join Julia Alivertis in one of the conventions in Athens a few years ago and have been attending most Tesol conventions since then… Since the concept of attending conventions was introduced to me, I have attended at least one convention a year. To me, it is like any other occasion that comes annually, like birthdays and anniversaries. I look forward to it because it is also one way I can travel!
I believe that, Tesol Conventions , are a great way for teachers to get to meet other educators and exchange their expertise and learn from each other.Personally speaking, each such event I attend I come out of it with a bunch of new ideas to try out or to investigate further. I also always get to extend my professional learning network via adding to it more like-minded teachers and educators.
I return to these conferences primarily because of their multi-disciplinary nature, their strong support of learner-centered education and their focus on student engagement. I believe that attending the Tesol Professional development events , improves my teaching by increasing my awareness of the power of engagement within the school teaching environment. I can also happily attest to an increasing confidence from having acquired new skills and the ease in implementing changes. I have noticed an increased joy in my teaching and a greater willingness and ability to make changes to my courses and teaching strategies. This greater enthusiasm has transformed the classroom environment in a most positive way as well as encouraged a greater collegiality and appreciation of the contributions of both my colleagues and my students.
More random thoughts about Tesol conventions I have attended so far:
I like that there are so many people from so many places, lots of variety of backgrounds. I like the content and feel there are always many offerings I want to hear. I like that they “practice what they preach” in terms of utilizing active learning techniques even for the plenary
I enjoy seeing how many people are passionate about improving their teaching and bringing back ideas to their colleagues. This conferences rejuvenate my excitement to re-vamp my syllabus every year and apply some of what I learn at the conference as well as share with others what I learn.
I like that I meet a lot of people who share my passion for teaching and learning and who are not shy about responding in workshops or starting conversations. I like that workshops are teaching-focused and not discipline specific. I enjoy every session I attend, because of the wonderful spirit of the participants, all eager to learn and share their wisdom
It is nice to take specifically dedicated time to reflect on teaching practices and to talk with like-minded colleagues. Some sessions provid new and interesting ideas…
I come back with so many great ideas about how to be a better teacher. Also, I find out that I am doing some things pretty good already which is good for my self-doubting soul.
Love the enthusiasm. Love the common theme of wanting to be better teachers. We love what we do, all of us, wish to get better at it and learn from each other
Also, the networking opportunities and the practicality of most presentations.
I love the practice-based content. I’m rather sick of coventions that are all theory and no practice.
I love the the feeling of belonging to a group that shares the same passion, the knowledge we get from presentations, and interacting with our peers and experts in the field. What good it will do depends on how you view the experience. Sometimes we go to a presentation, and it was not what we thought it was going to be. It is hit-or-miss, really. However, if you look at it from a different angle, you still may be able to extract something from the experience. It opens minds and it opens doors.
I have found that, Tesol events do have an effect on your teaching philosophy and practices, without your being aware of it: how open-minded you are to changes, how much of a team player you are, how much you want to improve and offer your students a variety of activities, and so on.
Once you get your “conference mode” turned on, you want to attend as much as you can if time and money permit. The next thing you want to do is to present. Get in the game! It may take me a while before I finally get the courage to present.
The important thing is to keep learning, to know what’s hot and what’s not! One really easy way to do this is to attend professional development events and become a member of a professional organization such as Tesol!