First time presenting at a Tesol convention-feelings and some tips…


My first time as a presenter at a Tesol convention

My first time as a presenter at a Tesol convention

After years of active membership in both Tesol Greece and Tesol Macedonia-Thrace-Northern Greece, I finally decided to deliver a presentation ,in this year’s Tesol MTN Greece annual convention in March!

As I planned  my  session, I thought  about programs I had attended that had worked well and followed those examples. Similarly, if I recalled a session that I had  attended in the past that was not successful, I learnt from those mistakes!

Tesol conventions: networking is precious!

Tesol conventions: networking is precious!

I had in mind that ,when speeches and presentations are poorly organized, the impact of the message is reduced and the audience is less likely to accept the speaker or the speaker’s ideas.

Truth is, TESOL wants speakers  to do well. I knew, I would have all the support I would need..!

Of course, I must admit  I  was a bit nervous, before the big day! It’s normal to get nervous about public speaking, I guess…

I made sure that I used my notes to help me  remember what I wanted to say. (I actually, used my notes more  than I should have ….)

I also rehearsed a LOT!

Meeting old friends and making new ones! With a bunch of amazing Tesolers and speakers!

Meeting old friends and making new ones! With a bunch of amazing Tesolers and speakers!

Last but not least, I made sure that I read  the TESOL list of best practices to help me  create a successful session. I am sharing this  list here ….

 In your opening remarks, introduce yourself and mention the name and the purpose of the session.

 Attendees expect your presentation to reflect the description used to promote your session. Please ensure that it does.

 Stand up when presenting, even if you are part of a panel discussion.

 Always use your microphone, and repeat all questions from attendees.

 Engage session attendees as active learners rather than passive listeners.

 Provide plenty of opportunities for attendees to ask questions, interact with each other, and apply the concepts you are presenting.

 Provide resources and handout materials in advance of your session.

 Be energetic and enthusiastic! Attendees will feed off your energy, which will make the learning experience more useful and rewarding.

 Comply with all program-related deadlines provided by TESOL, including but not limited to deadlines for handouts, A/V orders, etc.

 Agree to notify TESOL immediately in event that an emergency should prevent you from meeting your obligation to present.

With a star speaker whom I admire: Ken Wilson.

With a star speaker whom I admire: Ken Wilson.

Know Your Audience

Who attends the TESOL convention? The attendees are primarily from higher education and elementary education, and they represent all job functions in the field. Consultants and exhibitors also attend.

What do attendees expect?

All attendees value openness and diversity of thinking as they tackle real issues in the classroom. They want substance and knowledge they can immediately put in to practice. All are looking for new ways to solve their current challenges and for ways to push their students, programs, and institutions toward better outcomes.

What your attendees will remember

 What they actually did in your session, not what they saw or heard

 Exercises that demonstrated your point

 Stories and examples that painted a mental picture

 Particularly powerful metaphors that can serve as reminders

 Small group discussion of key points

 Interaction with peers

What your attendees won’t remember

 Your incredible statistics, even though such facts will build your credibility

 Most of your jokes, although giving them a few laughs will make them more receptive to your information and thinking

 How eloquent you were, although your clarity of thought will help them comprehend what you are trying to say

My presentation topic and...crazy me!

My presentation topic and happy me!

Quick Tips:Things to Consider


 Smile, relax, and have fun—the audience will feel it

 Use an ice-breaker to get your audience interacting and engaged from the beginning

 Be energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate

 Use appropriate humor or other ways to engage your audience

 Know your topic well enough so that you do not have to read it from your slides

 Define any acronyms that your audience may not know

 Move around—don’t trap yourself behind a laptop

 Allow the audience to ask questions

 Try to add stories, anecdotes, testimonials, or demonstrations that emphasize your point

 Repeat questions asked by the audience so that everyone will hear

 Stay on track and within your allotted time

 Close your presentation by summarizing your key points

 Provide tools and information that audience can implement

 Remember that the audience is very interested in what you have to say and they want you to do well!

Me, presenting with confidence...

Me, presenting with confidence…


 Read your presentation from your slides or your notes

 Use acronyms that that audience might not know

 Look over your shoulder at the presentation screen (PowerPoint)

 Use slides that contain nothing but text

 Engage in distracting conversations with other presenters while someone else is talking

 Answer questions without repeating questions first

 Use conversation fillers like “umm,” “you know,” and “like”

 Speak so quickly that your audience has trouble understanding you

At the end of my presentation, with a bunch of dear friends and colleagues!

At the end of my presentation, with a bunch of dear friends and colleagues!

If your question now is, whether I managed to follow all those quidelines during my presentation, my  answer will be ” not really”!…

But, this is not what really mattered! The important thing was, that I finally did it!! I accepted the challege and decided to share my teaching  practices and class experience ,in public! I am no expert, I am just an ordinary teacher, who sometimes  does…..extraordinary things in class!

And because my motto is ” Sharing is caring”, I had to dare , share and inspire other teachers the same way, I have been inspired by amazing educators out there ,throughout me teaching career ! Tesol has been my major source of inspiration all these years!

I am a proud Tesoler and so happy to be able to offer something back!

Thank you Tesol Mac.Thr. N. Greece for the opportunity to share and show how much I do care!

After all, SHARING IS CARING! Dare to share!

Guest speakers , in our ELT class!

 mos vicky2

Bringing a guest speaker into our class is an opportunity I always seek out !

My students are exposed to a different style of spoken English, and they  also learn content  that will benefit them in their education, in general !

To make sure that my studenrs get full benefit , I don’t just bring a guest in and let him/her speak, though…. I usually guide him/her  and help them with ideas about what they can do with each one of my classes


I always prepare my students on the topic first! That is, after presenting my  students with information about the speaker and the topic which she  will discuss, I  have each student write three to five follow up questions for our  guest. For example, before Vicky Loras visited my class last week, I asked my students to think about what they would like to know about both her and  her country . Thinking of questions for a guest speaker can be very challenging to most ESL students, especially if we  ask them to do it on the spot  .When Vicky finished talking to my students, I encouraged them to ask the questions they had written  earlier in the week, as well as the ones they wrote down as she was speaking.

mos vicky4

I also make sure that, I prepare my students on the speaker, too! The more I  can prepare the  students on what they will hear and experience, the less anxiety they will suffer. I encourage my students to do their best to understand our  guest speaker and to let it go when they do not.

Behavior matters! I communicate with my  students ahead of time what behavior is expected when listening to a guest speaker. I tell them that, they should listen quietly. They can ask questions, but it is most polite to wait until the end  to do so.

I have to admit that, my students were really well behaved when Vicky  arrived! I am really proud of them!

mos vicky5

Also, I , always prepare my guest speakers as to the language level of my  students before they coms to class to speak. Vicky for example, was well aware of the different levels of my classes before she stepped into each one  of them.

To help my  speakers, I  make  sure I  have everything they would  need for the presentation including a projector and our laptop!

Vicky was amazing at encouraging my students!  The lower the language level of the  class the more important this engagement is and Vicky was superb at this!



After Vicky had  left and my  clasess had asked their questions, I asked my students how they felt about the experience! They were just thrilled! They loved Vicky, they came to know so much about Canada, too! Few students told me that they had struggles understanding the speaker but, I told them it was  perfectly normal for their level and age. Working with my  students before she came  and then again after she left made  this  good experience for my  students even better.


I usually try to bring in speakers of different ages with different ethnic and geographical backgrounds. It is also helpful if the speaker is a native speaker of English ,since his or her speech patterns are more realistic even if more challenging for my  students.

I have been thinking about how my class can benefit  even more, by developing an ongoing relationship with our speakers. In Vicky’s case, it would be great if she could either visit again one day or, arrange a Skype meeting with our  classes! How cool would that be?

Our present to Vicky, was an issue of our handmade English magazine!

Our present to Vicky, was an issue of our handmade English magazine!

Thank you Vicky Loras, for the opportunity to share a lesson with you ! I am looking forward to reading your comments about your visit in  our classroom, in a future guest blog post!

mos vicky3