I remember the first TESOL Convention I attended in Vancouver, BC in 2000. I was still a student and we had organized the first ever group of students from our program to attend the Convention. I was overwhelmed by the number of sessions, the networking opportunities, and the camaraderie of all the attendees. It was a wonderful experience that cemented me in my career choices and helped me become a better teacher.
Since then, I have attended 17 more TESOL Conventions, and had similar experiences at each one. That is, until this year, when the COVID-19 crisis forced the cancellation of the TESOL Convention in Denver. As a board member of TESOL, I can share with you that cancelling the convention was one of the hardest decisions the Board has ever had to make, and we are still dealing with the ramifications of cancellation. Truly, it is a difficult time for the Association and the profession.
Despite the difficulties, however, I am impressed with the spirit of our members and volunteer leaders, and the TESOL International Association staff at their desire to persevere. New opportunities for collaboration and development are springing out of these difficult times, and on 16–18 July, TESOL will hold its first ever Virtual Convention! Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Another online meeting? I don’t think I can handle spending any more time in front of my computer screen!”, and I would normally tend to agree with you. But this Virtual Convention is going to be so much more than just “another online meeting,” and I wanted to give some information and advice that will help you make the most of this historical opportunity. Continue reading