March means that it’s time for the annual conference and time to renew my membership. Since I won’t be attending the TESOL convention this year, I know that with my membership, I can keep abreast of the latest research in the field, training opportunities, and job announcements. For example, when I first joined, they asked me to select from the various interest sections and listserves. Nowadays, the listserve is called the TESOL Community and continues to provide answers to members’ questions electronically. I learn so much from following the discussion.
Once I read a post on the Community board asking for assistance in moderating an online project for the computer-assisted language learning interest section (CALL-IS). I responded immediately and took the necessary moderator training to teach the session. This was the beginning of my 3-year involvement with the Electronic Village Online (EVO). In fact, this past year, I served on their coordination team! Now I’m part of their very successful virtual team of educators and gaining so much supervisory experience.
If you’re unemployed, you can often feel isolated from lack of peer interaction. By joining TESOL, I was able to connect with peers worldwide via the listserve, online training, and volunteering. For example, the mentor of our EVO training asked the trainees if anyone would be interested in presenting on the volunteer experience and outcome of the session at the TESOL conference. I jumped at the opportunity and used my airline rewards miles to travel to the conference for free. While I was there, I collected free resources, volunteered in the Electronic Village, and attended as many presentations as possible. Moreover, I was able to reconnect with former employers! This series of events came about simply by renewing my membership with my professional organization.
Perhaps you think that membership fees are too expensive if you’re currently unemployed. I’m here to tell you the investment in my career has really paid off. For instance, I took TESOL’s Principles and Practices of Online Teaching certificate course at the reduced membership price. The skills I learned from that course aided me in securing a new job teaching online for my university. Plus, the continuing education units helped me renew my teaching certification last year. The cost of the membership was worth it!
Lastly, don’t forget about the TESOL conference’s fantastic Job MarketPlace (JMP) for the job hunt. You can preview the jobs and companies online now at the career center. If you attend the conference, I’d advise you to take your resume and letter of interest on a jump drive, so you can apply for other jobs online at the computers provided at the JMP. Of course, you should also carry plenty of copies on hand for those wonderful opportunities that occur by happenstance. Best of luck on your job hunt! Let us know how the TESOL membership has helped you learn, find work, or connect with colleagues.