The Unapologetic Advocate: The 2019 TESOL Advocacy Summit and Why You Need to Attend

With the weather getting warmer here in Washington, DC, I’m confident that two things must be right around the corner: my annual Golden Girls marathon, and the 2019 TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit. As much as I may want to, I won’t discuss the former, and instead highlight why you need to attend this one-of-a-kind TESOL advocacy event.

As I’ve discussed before, TESOL professionals not only have the right to advocate on behalf of the students and peers, but also the responsibility. I can think of no better way to embrace this responsibility than by attending the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit. For 3 days in June, TESOL professionals from all over the country descend on our nation’s capital in order to learn about the current policies impacting English learners and then advocate for change on Capitol Hill. Here are just a few reasons for you to attend the summit.

Learn From Policy Experts

Since its inception, the summit has been fortunate to tap into a wide network of policy experts and Washington, DC, insiders, and grow into a robust program featuring nearly a dozen speakers over the course of 3 days. I know that many advocates’ first reaction to going to meet with members of Congress is, “I’m not an expert on all of the issues!” By attending the summit, however, you will get the necessary knowledge to take with you to Congress (and back home) and have the confidence to address the many issues impacting the TESOL field. So, even if you’re not well-versed in the legal challenges facing DACA, or the exact amount of money appropriated to Title III of ESSA, or what appropriated even means, you’ll be just fine, and you’ll leave the summit with the necessary knowledge and tools to become a stronger advocate.

Build Your Advocacy Toolkit

Feeling a little intimidated by the thought of meeting with members of Congress? I get it; but meeting with your representatives is a little less The West Wing and a little more parent-teacher conference. Regardless of your experience level or comfort level with congressional meetings, the summit will give you the tips, tools, and knowledge necessary to hold productive meetings with your members of Congress. You’ll hear from experts (such as yours truly) and past participants to get the low-down on meeting with lawmakers, and to reassure you that anyone can be a successful advocate, no matter if this is your first time on Capitol Hill or your 100th!

Capitol Hill Day

By attending the summit, you’ll cap off your experience with an entire day on Capitol Hill meeting with your representatives in both the House and Senate (and easily get your 10,000 steps in). Worried about what to say? We’ve got you covered! During your training on the first 2 days of the summit, you’ll not only be given tips on how to hold a meeting, but you’ll be given written talking points to go over. It’s that easy! Plus, with the number of attendees growing each year, attendees from the same state often meet with their representatives in groups, so you won’t be alone in your advocacy efforts.

So, what are you waiting for? Space is limited and the summit has reached full capacity in the past. If you’re even just considering whether the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit is the right opportunity for you, stop thinking and start planning your trip to DC this June!

Need more convincing? Read the “Top 10 Reasons to Participate in the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit,” from past participants.


To learn more about the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit, and to register, please visit the summit website.

About David Cutler

David Cutler
David Cutler is the policy and communications manager at TESOL International Association. He received his bachelor’s in social studies education from Ithaca College and his master’s degree in public administration from Cornell University. His work at TESOL includes monitoring and responding to policies that impact English language teachers and learners, organizing the annual TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit, and managing the association’s communications initiatives. David’s previous work experiences have included the District of Columbia Public Schools, American Federation of Teachers, and New York State Assembly. Be sure to follow David on Twitter @TESOLpolicyguy.
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