Thinking about Leadership

Do you consider yourself a leader? I think oftentimes we as TESOL professionals do not. Regardless of your job role, you can (and should) think about developing your leadership skills. That focus has become more and more important to me in my career as I have taken on additional responsibility within my program. If you do find yourself in the circumstance of moving from the classroom into an administrative role, you may be surprised at how different the necessary skills sets are.

That’s why my curiosity was peaked as I was looking through the TESOL convention advance program book and came across the TESOL Leadership Development Certificate Program. There are two strands to choose from, and for an additional $100 fee, you can complete a preconference workshop plus a couple of additional sessions in order to complete the certificate during the week of the convention. If you aren’t able to fit it all in this year, you can take the remaining workshops the following year for no additional charge. I’m really looking forward to attending next Wednesday’s workshop, which will be facilitated by MaryAnn Christison and Denise Murray. We will be covering topics that include the qualities of effective leadership, financial planning, supervision, and strategic planning. I still haven’t settled on which two additional workshops I will attend because there are eight to choose from, but I’m leaning toward one on time management (always a challenge!) and another about technology.

If you aren’t able to make the workshops this year, you may want to start delving into these issues on your own. I’ve been reading MaryAnn and Denise’s book Leadership in English Language Education, which inspired me to present my own workshop at this year’s conference on the role of emotional intelligence in language program administration. It turns out that some of the sessions are also available as online courses, so regardless of your circumstances, there are ways to start honing your own leadership skills. I hope you will consider taking advantage of some of these resources as I have found it very enriching to do so myself.

About pszasz

Patricia Szasz is the Director of Intensive English Programs at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. In addition to overseeing a variety of English language programs for international students, Patricia is fortunate enough to teach graduate courses in language pedagogy on campus. She currently serves on the board of the California/Nevada affiliate, CATESOL, as Level Chair for Intensive English Programs. Her professional interests include language program administration, leadership, technology-enhanced language learning, project-based learning, and intercultural communication. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, reading, traveling and taking walks along the beautiful California coast with her dog Henry.
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