TESOL Ambassadors are English language professionals and students who have agreed to share their Convention experiences with other attendees. Jorge Torres Almazán, EFL teacher in Tamaulipas, Mexico, is a 2021 TESOL Ambassador.
Attending a TESOL Convention is one of the goals and dreams for many teachers all around the world. We all know, have read, or heard of the quality of such an event. I have had the opportunity to attend three of them—each of them unique, different, and special.
TESOL 2019 in Atlanta was my first time as attendee and as a presenter; my excitement and adrenaline were at the highest level. I remember when I got the acceptance letter, I couldn´t believe it was happening. It was a long wait from that day to arriving in Atlanta.
I had my presentation the second day of the Convention. In the beginning, I felt anxious and stressed. Some of my friends came to say hi and wish me good luck. This was one of the most fantastic personal and professional experience I have ever had. I perceived the support and encouragement my presentation attendees offered me, and just a few minutes after the beginning I felt at ease and in control. After the presentation, I enjoyed of as many sessions as possible; I wanted to make other presenters feel as comfortable as I felt during mine. My first and unique TESOL experience couldn’t have been better.
A Different Convention
TESOL 2020 was the first virtual convention. I had never attended a virtual convention before. It was exciting and odd; I did not visualize myself listening to those great presenters in my living room or bedroom. When I had access to the platform, I realized it was easy to use. I enjoyed it more than expected and attended more sessions than I had at the previous Convention. I had the opportunity to reconnect and make new friends. During those 4 days, the oddness went away, and I was in Convention mode. In a way, this different Convention made me come out of my comfort zone, and I learned not only about teaching and learning trends, but I also gained confidence being in front of a camera, using different platforms, and including technology in my everyday classes.
A Special Convention
TESOL 2021: It was my pleasure and honor to be one of the four Convention Ambassadors. It was my opportunity to promote the Convention and invite teachers from all over the globe to attend and enjoy all the excitement that the Convention involves. I attended as many sessions as I could, and I was able to guide and advise my colleagues. I found familiar faces and names in many of the sessions. The virtual mode allowed us to broaden our network, and now I know who to ask for, where to find information, and who to contact whenever I need help or advice. Now, I belong to a global community of teachers and experts. As a result of all this networking, I was invited to write for this blog and participate in the 2021 Affiliate Network Virtual Event. Now I feel as special as the Convention.
Thanks to these experiences, I have been able to organize conferences, invite speakers to local and national events in my country, have an expert in one of my classes, and become a better teacher. I cannot wait for TESOL 2022, when the world will come together again!