So if you’re anything like me, you’re busy—really busy—juggling lesson plans and staff meetings and research projects and grading. Meanwhile, journal articles stack up in the unread pile and emails flood in by the hundreds. Don’t even get me started on managing the rest of life! It can be overwhelming to add one more thing to the mix. But I’m here to make a case for attending the yearly TESOL International Convention.
Each time I attend the Convention, I find myself leaving the daily grind behind. It’s invigorating to explore a new city, network with other professionals, and reconnect with old friends. The bookstore sells titles written by our fellow members, while the vendors showcase the latest tech and give away swag bags. There are hundreds of fascinating presentations on cutting-edge research, suggestions for supporting students, and practical class content like teaching tips and lesson plans. The plenary sessions remind me of just how important our work is, and encourage me to keep serving.
Brushing shoulders with thousands of other teachers illustrates just how large our field is. We gather from all over the globe, yes, but we also cooperate with other fields from technology to politics to literature and more. Whether you are tackling a world-changing issue or changing the life of one student, you need the support of others who get it. And you can find them at the TESOL International Convention!
A Helpful Checklist
If you want to attend the convention, here’s what you need to do:
Ask your supervisor for time off.
Apply for funding from your school.
(optional) Apply for Convention grants and scholarships.
Become (or renew as) a TESOL International Association member.
Register for the Convention.
Buy train/bus/airplane tickets, or map your driving route
(optional) Arrange to carpool or room with friends.
(optional) Read the blog posts about Convention highlights and fun things to do in the host city.
Pack your bags.
(optional) Decide which presentations to attend.
Enjoy the conference!
Submit expense receipts.
Integrate new lesson plans/research information.
Ask you can see, this is a feasible process, and well worth it in the end. I hope to see you there!
Josiah Murphy, MA TESOL, recently graduated from Kent State University, where she served as president of the Graduate Organization for Teachers of ESL. She has taught EFL/ESP in China, Cambodia, and Ohio. Current research includes translanguaging in the writing of multilinguals, and contested language revitalization.