Every year, the TESOL International Association throws a large conference for educators and administrators to come and learn about what other people are doing in the classroom, checkout new materials, and network/learn about job opportunities. Dr. Wagner mentioned attending several of them over the years in our Approaches class during the fall and said that this year’s conference was going to be in Baltimore. Since Baltimore is approximately 90 miles from Philly, I decided that I would make an effort to attend it this year.
Back in January, I sent an email to several of my friends in the TESOL program at Penn and asked if they’d be interested in going. Some of them said yes, so we made plans to get tickets and stay with a friend of mine who happens to live in Charm City.
The conference was held at the Baltimore Convention Center, which is HUGE. I don’t think I can even begin to describe how massive this place is. The third floor of the convention center was all used for the educational sessions, and the first floor was used for publishers and employers to set up booths.
Additionally, there was a Hilton attached to the Convention Center that also had a ton of ballrooms in it that were also being used for talks. I have to admit that by the second day of the conference, I would pick talks that looked good and were close by because I was so exhausted from walking back and forth across this place. But, the Hilton had a great view of Camden Yards, so that was kind of cool.
We arrived on Tuesday night and stayed through Friday. I attended talks all day Wednesday, Thursday, and did a pretty full day on Friday. Some of the talks I went to included:
- The Multilevel Classroom: Maddening, Magical, or Somewhere Between the Two
- The Pronunciation-Listening Connection for Lonely Starbucks Lovers
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Best Practices for Intensive English Programs
- Digital v. Print Reading: Teaching Appropriate Skills for Both Modalities
- Trauma and Education Beyond Borders: What Can Educators Do?
I cannot begin to tell you how great of a time I had. I learned more than I could have ever imagined, and I cannot wait to implement what I learned in my classes. It was also great to be around so many people who are also passionate about TESOL. But by the end I was exhausted. I’ve spent all day today vegging out and chilling with my dog and husband.
Next year’s conference is going to be in Seattle. That’s a bit of a schlep from Philly, but I’m hoping that I can attend. Graduate students can present at the conference, and in fact two my peers from Penn did in Baltimore! Fun fact – as a graduate student at Penn, you can apply for funding through the Graduate And Professional Student Assembly (a.k.a. GAPSA). Woo funding!