Well, it’s almost here! No, not my annual Golden Girls marathon, but the first day of the 116th U.S. Congress. And with the new Congress comes an opportunity to meet some of the 435 people who work for you, 110 of whom are brand new to Capitol Hill and I’m sure would love to meet you. I can never emphasize this enough, but sometimes advocates I speak with take the term “public servant” for granted, forgetting that they have two senators and one representative (unless they’re in Washington, DC) dedicated to represent their interests in Congress. So, why wouldn’t you want to articulate your interests in person?
Meeting with your members of Congress and their staffs is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen, let alone a TESOL advocate, and you don’t have to travel all the way to Washington, DC, to do it! Your members of Congress have district offices that are close by, leaving no excuses to not schedule a time to drop in. Unfortunately, even for the most dedicated advocates, meeting with a member of Congress can cause a lot of anxiety, uncertainty, and confusion. With that in mind, I’d like to offer a helpful, brief, and (as always) unapologetic guide to meeting with your members of Congress. Continue reading
As a first-time graduate student attendee, it’s easy to be excited but also overwhelmed by the various sessions of TESOL 2019 International Convention & English Language Expo. I was in your place last March when I attended TESOL 2018. I still remember staying up late in my hotel in Chicago, reviewing the program from the TESOL app for the next day because I had underestimated the size of the convention center and the variety of quality presentation topics. I learned a valuable lesson that being familiar with the schedule could save me a lot of energy and help me utilize my time more efficiently. So here I would like to share with you 5 useful tips that I learned and used from my experience and from other experienced attendees last year.
Most educators of English learners (ELs) cringe at the thought of attending district-wide professional development (PD) programs. The content of many of these programs seems unrelated to the specialized needs of teachers of their students. It’s torture for them to be subjected to a day with an “expert” that expounds on a topic that doesn’t apply to their population.
Indeed, school districts seem to be wedded to this “one size fits all” method of PD. I feel an affinity with this topic. I stopped providing PD to school districts a few years ago because there was no follow-up. I would travel to a district, spend the day, and that would be the end. The district ticked “PD” about teaching ELs off their list. I felt keenly that I wasn’t meeting the PD needs of a good number of people in the audience in a “one and done” session. I read an outstanding article by Jennifer Gonzalez entitled “OMG Becky, PD is Getting So Much Better!!” about new ways that districts across the United States are personalizing PD for their staff. I used that article as a springboard to find ways that teachers of ELs could have more meaningful PD. Here are five ways this can be done. Continue reading
As we inch closer to the 2019 TESOL International Convention, we are starting to see more and more of the many exciting events that await us. The TESOL Convention is notorious for providing a plethora of rewarding workshops, presentations, events, gatherings, and more. The first time I attended the convention, I felt like a kid in a candy store. There were so many exciting people to meet, ideas to share, and things to learn. As professionals, what more could we ever ask for?
While it is great to have a wide assortment of options and opportunities at convention, it can also feel slightly daunting to determine where to go and what to attend. There are a spectrum of ways that we can respond to this. We could not plan anything and see how the convention unfolds, or we could hyper-plan the entire convention. What I have learned by attending two different conventions is that there is a middle ground where we are flexible yet have some support. Continue reading