For this president’s blog, I’ve asked Liz England to write about retirement for TESOLers.
TESOL 2011, New Orleans, was a fabulous convention for me. With some others, I had become somewhat frustrated for many years about TESOL’s ability to support member needs. I found that the TESOL 2011 Convention in New Orleans was a refreshing change from conventions of the recent past. The sessions were useful; the information convention goers needed was available; the space was well-organized and the city of New Orleans offered a welcome that left me with a happy heart, a full stomach and lots of things to think about as I returned to my native Virginia at the end of the convention!
One event that I would like to describe was the Retirement Redefined Forum (or RRF). I established that forum in 2007. With too few resources for addressing retirement needs and with the extraordinary events that have led to crashes in economies worldwide, a growing number of TESOLers – young and old – are concerned about retirement issues.
So, it seemed timely to provide a mechanism for TESOL Convention goers to find ways to use their TESOL education and experiences to plan ahead and move forward toward retirement, prepared for “Retiring in TESOL Style!” (as we named our session two years ago).
Some of the questions that we heard as we began thinking about the Retirement Redefined Forum came to us from old friends, new friends and even some students. Here are a few of the questions and concerns that were raised. Please notice the diversity of interests and backgrounds reflected in our small sample group of TESOLers concerned about retirement (there are many, many more of these!):
Questions and interests of Retirement Redefined Forum members, participants and friends:
- I’m young but I need to think ahead so that I have enough money to retire someday. How do I prepare for retirement as a young TESOL professional?
- I’m reaching middle age and am considering opportunities to work on short-term assignments overseas. How can I find a way to do that?
- I don’t want to work! I want to go to the beach and maybe volunteer once a week. Where’s a good place for me to retire?
- I have worked in a university job my whole career. I am going to retire in five more years and I am seeking ways of working part-time in a foreign country. I was thinking of Costa Rica or maybe India. Which is a better choice?
- I live in Thailand and I have aging parents. I want to teach part time, maybe on line. How can I gain the skills and knowledge I need to do that?
In 2008, in New York, more than 60 people joined us for two different sessions (both scheduled at 6 AM!) to address issues of retirement. We knew it was time to set up a Yahoo Group, to plan for the next year’s convention and to re-group for meeting the needs of our increasingly large following of TESOLers who want to think about retirement. And so, we did. Please visit our Yahoo Group (or even join us) at www.yahoogroups.com; then type in retire_in_TESOL_style.
In 2009, in Denver, I organized and led a panel discussion including more than 100 participants at our RRF designed to provide perspectives on retirement by TESOL leaders worldwide. We had nine presenters from five continents. And all of them gave great information for our assembled group! Among presenters were two past Presidents of TESOL: Sandy Briggs and Doug Brown.
Boston was the city that hosted TESOL 2010. Our speaker, Mr. William Brisk, Esq., an attorney who specializes in elder care in the Boston area, provided excellent (free!) legal advice for attendees at our forum presentation.
This past year, 2011, in New Orleans, we set up five “round-table discussions,” to address topics identified in the past two years as “hot topics” for TESOL Convention attendees (and TESOLer’s in general). Each round table discussion group contained 8-10 participants who engaged in highly interactive conversation with a leader who offered background information, tips and planning options for their groups. These five extraordinary TESOL leaders are listed here with the topics they addressed: Neil Anderson (Finances and financial planning), John Schmidt (Volunteer opportunities); Richard Boyum (Consultancies); Suchada Nimmannit (Health and recreation) and Sandy Briggs (Professional development).
Retirement issues are (or will be very soon!) on every TESOL member’s mind. Mine included! If you are interested in learning more about the Retirement Redefined Forum in TESOL, it would be great to hear from you! And please join our Yahoo Group (see address above). Let’s all retire in TESOL Style! I am anxious to hear your thoughts on this topic on this blog.
Founder and Chair
TESOL Retirement Redefined Forum