Attending the annual TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo transformed my career. Let it transform yours! Not only does it renew and refresh my teaching practice through attending a variety of sessions offered each year, but it also connects me to like-minded educators who share the same passion as I do for English language education. This year, I am honoured to be coordinating the Professional Development Travel Grant for Practicing ESL/EFL Teachers as it offers opportunities to new members to experience a formative professional development opportunity like no other. I’ve reached out to a few recent recipients to share their experiences.
Fourth-year doctoral student, Quanisha Charles, in the PhD Composition & TESOL program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania was a recipient of the 2016 Professional Development Travel Grant for Practicing ESL/EFL Teachers and shares two important takeaways with us from attending the TESOL 2016 in Baltimore.
1. Everybody Is Somebody
One major observation I noticed at the convention is that everybody is “somebody.” This means that one may unknowingly be standing next to a notable TESOL scholar. Luckily, I was able to meet the current president, Andy Curtis, and while waiting in the lobby, I realized that I was sitting next to the former president of TESOL, Dr. Yilin Sun, only to look up and see Dr. Suhanthie Motha, author of Race, Empire, and English Language Teaching, standing across from me. I was afforded the opportunity to attend sessions of distinguished scholars, such as Mary Romney and Shondel Nero, and some of these scholars, such as 2016 TESOL Teacher of the Year, Shannon Tanghe, attended my session. I had to often refrain my tears of joy.
2. Networking Your Career Path
This is only one of the memorable experiences I encountered while attending TESOL 2016, so to prospective attendees and travel grantees, I would highly recommend connecting with other scholars, attending as many presentations as possible, and being prepared to hand out business cards, because you never know which scholar you will meet and how far it will take your career.
Find out more information about the award and apply for the Professional Development Travel Grant for Practicing ESL/EFL Teachers.