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February 2019
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From the Executive Director: What the TESOL Convention Means to Me
by Christopher Powers

What does the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo mean to me? As we like to say, it is the place where “the world comes together” and it is “THE meeting for ELT professionals.”

But what does it mean on a personal level? I took a look at what our TESOL 2019 Ambassadors had to say. “The TESOL Convention,” according to Glen Ryan Alejandro, an English language teacher from San Francisco, California, USA, “is a forum that provides attendees with an opportunity to voice their own views and also to listen to others’ perspectives or to initiate actions on issues that matter the most to them.”

“The TESOL Convention is a great opportunity for encouraging professional development, increasing tech savviness, and, at the same time, creating special bonds among English language teaching professionals,” says Erika Mejia, an academic coordinator from Campeche, Mexico. “It provides everyone with the opportunity to exchange ideas, techniques, experiences, and tips.”

And according to Suzanne Rajkumar, teacher, researcher, administrator, and founder of Corporate Bilingual Consultancy in Cortes, Honduras, “TESOL Conventions help you think outside of the box and, in this case, outside of the classroom. They engage and empower you to explore more options in your professional teaching career than simply being in a class.”

I love these messages. They show how the personal and professional blend together to create unique experiences and opportunities for each attendee. This is what the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo means to me. It is a community; a home; and a place to recharge and renew, strengthen and uplift us, and inspire and challenge us. It is a place where we meet old colleagues and new friends.

As most of you know, last year was my first TESOL Convention. I proudly joined 1,890 other first-timers and immersed myself in the experience. To me, the Convention was everything that our ambassadors said and more. It was my first TESOL Convention, but I felt like I had been coming here my whole life. I felt at home.

Meeting members, colleagues, and partners, it was a place where we explored new ideas and embarked on new ventures. Meeting with our Board of Directors and member leaders, it was a place where our work over the past year came together and culminated. It left me exhausted and energized all at the same time. And I can’t wait to feel that way again.

I hope that you have all registered for Atlanta (it’s not too late!), and I invite you to find me, say hi, and let me know what you think the association can do to better serve you and all of our members worldwide. It is going to be an incredible convention. We are expecting more than 6,000 attendees and more than 100 exhibitors. The Convention features keynote addresses; academic sessions; Preconvention Institutes; a day focused on K–12 education; special sessions on The 6 Principles; and special activities for new members, first-time attendees, students, and emerging professionals. Given these expansive offerings, there is literally a place for everyone at TESOL.

Finally, if you asked me to wrap up what the TESOL Convention means to me in one sentence, I would say that it is the one place, at the one time of the year, where all of our work comes together. Referring to our Strategic Plan, with participants from more than 100 countries, it is the purest example of our Global Presence and Connectivity; with more than 900 academic sessions, it is a microcosm of TESOL’s Knowledge and Expertise; and with more than 6,000 TESOL educators under one roof, it is the starkest example of the power of our Voice and Advocacy strength.

I would love to hear what the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo means to you. And I can’t want to see you in Atlanta!

Christopher Powers
TESOL Executive Director
Email: cpowers@tesol.org
Twitter: @TESOL_Powers

 

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