As I prepare for the TESOL convention in Seattle next month, I remember the first time I attended a TESOL international event. It was 2006 and I was in Washington, DC, at George Washington University to attend a workshop with my TESOL colleagues from around the world. We were to discuss the new (2005) TESOL standards.
It was wonderful to meet people from India, Africa, Switzerland, and everywhere else. As we came together, we had very different ideas of how to apply the new standards to our teaching situation at home. We shared our thoughts about each standard and planned lessons together using mathematics, science, social studies, and literature to inspire our students to mastery of language skills. I think we all left Washington grateful for the work that went into the TESOL standards and happy to have a better understanding of how to improve our student’s chances for success.
As I prepare to travel to Seattle, in that other Washington, the one where I have never been before, I look forward to the camaraderie and fellowship I have experienced at every TESOL gathering. It is truly remarkable to meet people who come from every corner of the Earth and who toil as I do helping students learn the most challenging mode of communication ever developed: that which is English.
Dear Michael Waters,
Your blog brings back memories for me. My first TESOL was in Baltimore (around 1991, I believe). I got up at 5 AM and participated in every session from 7:30 AM until the evening. Then I collapsed into bed. I was so filled with ideas to bring back to my K-8 school in NJ where I was the only ESL teacher, a lonely camper. I didn’t belong in the first grade team nor the English team. I was a solo and, although accepted, I felt like I had no school family. So from that first TESOL onward until today, I know where my ESL family is. They are wherever TESOL is that March and I’m ready to visit with them again. Thank you for your blog.
I just saw your reply. I know the feeling of being the outsider among the faculty. It is so good to share the burden with those who wear the same yoke.