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.