All that’s left is the cleanup…

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Vadodara If you came to our conference on Saturday, thank you!

We know we had some hiccups. And part of that is due to trying to be responsive to your feedback from conferences past. We tried something new; some things worked and others didn’t. But most important is that you were there. Keep those comments coming. We know we have work to do, but we’ve got lofty goals.

I am going to put out another blog post soon; our keynote speaker has been busy responding to many of your questions, and I’d like to get that information to you.

But most important of all, I need to make sure that when you get the emailed conference feedback form that you put your name as you would like to see it on the form, otherwise you might end up with something like the picture on the left…

NNETESOL does face issues with finding suitable sites, and some places are easier to work with than others. We try our hardest to keep costs down. And, had I not been trying to figure out the ticket issue, we would have been much more prepared to tell you this:

  • We chose the site because of its location in Burlington. It was centrally located. (We were promised signage would be provided. We apologize for those of you who ended up diverted at Davis Center. We will make sure to provide a street address next time.)
  • We chose the catering service because the cheapest lunch service UVM’s caterers could provide was a $15 boxed lunch, which would have necessitated eliminating day-of-conference registration and raising the conference cost by at least $10 a ticket, something we’d all like to avoid. (The people who prepared and delivered food for you are the same ones who lovingly serve food to more than 900 high school students in Burlington every day. They don’t get paid enough for what they do.)
  • We chose to have the buffet style lunch because in the past, when we have had lunch elsewhere, even though it was a cost-saver, we lose people because they go away from the site. And we want you to get your money’s worth. (We are sorry we ran out of coffee. We will write this down on things to remedy for next year.)

This is stuff I meant to say the morning of, as well as extol the virtues of many board members who spent countless hours reading proposals, creating and copying schedules, meeting with university and other representatives, along with many other thankless tasks. But in trying to put out fires and to keep the day rolling, I was distracted. And for that I apologize.

We as an organization are growing. The bigger we get, the more hands we need. And we had fewer hands than we usually have at our conference this year.

So I’ll end this by putting out a request: If you care about what we do–not just as an organization, but we as members of this lofty profession–step forward. Write a blog post and email it to the webmaster. Volunteer to do a webinar or send in ideas for great lessons. Or fill out the application to be a board member. Ask to read proposals. Step forward. And help other teachers learn.

One person responded that she wasn’t really a teacher. But she is. We all are. It doesn’t matter what our pay grade or licensure might be. What matters is our dedication to helping others who speak a language other than English and learning how to do what we do even better. So if you’re a tutor, you have something to contribute. A publisher? You too. A student? A professor? Yep. Everybody has something they can contribute.

We are only as good as our volunteers. None of us are paid to do this. And yet we show up, year after year, hoping we can pull together something great.