TESOL Convention 2019 Highlights from the NNETESOL Affiliate Representative

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Stephanie N. Marcotte, NNETESOL Past President 

For the 2019 TESOL International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, I was honored to attend on behalf of NNETESOL. Each year, NNETESOL sends the Past President to the TESOL Convention to participate in TESOL affiliate meetings. These meetings provide an opportunity for folks from different TESOL affiliates to connect, reflect, and collaborate. This is essential as we find new ways to support our members for the years to come. 

This year, the TESOL International Association has been focused on their strategic plan and three corresponding outcomes. The outcomes are global presence and connectivity, knowledge and expertise, and voice and advocacy. Each of these areas get at the heart of our field and the heart of the TESOL International Association. These outcomes where brought up frequently at the convention. 

TESOL has also rolled out their TESOL Peer Advisory Program. This program is syncing together different affiliates from around the world. Right now, TESOL has a total of 120 affiliates. Some of whom are larger or more active than others. The idea is to provide a space for these affiliates to come together, connect, and learn from/with each other. This is just beginning, so we are excited to see how this will impact the future of NNETESOL. 

These meetings also focused on the use of the myTESOL. This is a great platform for TESOL professionals to come together, connect in new ways, and find ways to push the TESOL Association forward. During the presentations that I attended, it was clear that this is an underutilized resource at the moment. They are really pushing for individuals to create an account and get involved. This is free if you are already a TESOL International Association member. 

Speaking of membership, during the many meetings that I attended, it seems to be more common that TESOL affiliates are offering free membership. NNETESOL already offers free membership to our folks; however, there are many more affiliates that are doing this. I would encourage you all to consider joining other affiliates as well. This is a great way to get connected. I would suggest that you think about the affiliates that surround your state, but you can also reach outside of this. For example, NileTESOL offers free membership. This is also a great way to network if you hope to attend international conferences in the future. 

During this time, there was also a lot of conversation about TESOL membership. As we all know, TESOL membership isn’t a requirement to be part of NNETESOL; however, it is a great addition. TESOL offers many different free webinars, online certificate programs, and more. Each year, affiliates are given a specific number of free TESOL membership that they can give out. Each year, NNETESOL gathers names from folks at our annual conference. This is when we are able to randomly select those who are given a free membership. This is for folks who have never been a TESOL member before. This is something great to keep in mind as we inch closer to the NNETESOL conference in Maine this November. 

Finally, the theme of this convention and many of the affiliate meetings was collaboration. As we collaborate locally and globally, we are able to find new ways of thinking, new ways of doing, and open new doors to the future. With this said, NNETESOL is always looking for folks to volunteer and get involved. There are many projects happening, large and small, and your participation is always welcomed. This doesn’t have to be a large time commitment either. Participation will also be encouraged as we find new ways to partner with other TESOL affiliates, schools, colleges, and programs.