I am very grateful to my local affiliate for the constant encouragement to make the commitment to attend for myself. I was fortunate to attend together with other members of our affiliate, so I did not feel too alone on my first trip and we were able to share our experiences with each other from different workshops we attended.
My top 3 takeaways come to mind right away!
1. I’m Already an Advocate!
At one of our very first sessions for the affiliates, I discovered that I am an advocate or that I had been an advocate for biliteracy in my country of residence. Defining my policy position helped me to better steer my energy and focus for the rest of the convention and for my own personal planning. It helped strengthen my resolve to make a positive impact in bilingual education for both teachers and learners alike.
2. I Love Classroom Research
My second takeaway was falling in love with research and investigation in the classroom. Our TESOL International Convention showed me so many ways I could evolve as a teacher and that my voice could be heard via the ongoing action research in my classroom as well as having the #myTESOL platform to share and collaborate with other like-minded peers. I was reenergized to take my work to a whole different level.
3. Networking: There’s so Much out There
Number three for me was networking! The internet has opened a whole new world to us as educators, and there are so many avenues to explore, one of which is teacherpreneurship. Many times when teachers retire, they may ask themselves, “What else is out there?” Even young teachers who become frustrated by policies can find an outlet for their talents. At our TESOL Convention, attendees get an eyeful of a whole new marketplace for online educators, content materials production, freelance teaching, software collaborations, meet-ups with teacher authors, teacher illustrators, teacher musicians, and more.
I so look forward to #TESOL2019 as I now have even more great expectations! I will be on the lookout for friends from the 2018 convention; seeking out new ideas to bring back to my classroom; reaching out for action research collaborations to forward the biliteracy movement as far and wide as is possible; and filling my luggage with informative books, magazines, games, and more from the TESOL English Language Expo.
I urge any teacher, be you new to this vocation or even if you have been at it for years—it just takes one visit to get you inspired. At #myTESOL2019 there will be many opportunities to be encouraged and be heard. Our students deserve the very best of us, and TESOL 2019 is a great place to start out on a continuous improvement journey for educators. You will be on a roller coaster of best practices surrounded by a buffet of further education opportunities both in the USA and internationally. I invite you to click now and register today for Atlanta #TESOL2019 before it passes you by.
Suzanne Rajkumar, one of seven TESOL 2019 Ambassadors, is a volunteer at her local TESOL affiliate, a teacherpreneur, and a language game developer. In the last 23 years, she taught 8 years in Trinidad and Tobago as a middle school and adult ESL and EFL teacher, then upon moving to Honduras, she has spent the last 18 years accumulating over 29,000 hours teaching adult ESL classes for upper and middle management executives. This experience has inspired Suzanne to guide other teachers to becoming teacherpreneurs, too!