The TESOL Teacher of the Year Award

presented by National Geographic Learning

Who's Eligible

Any English language teacher who

  • has been a classroom teacher for a minimum of three years
  • is not a previous recipient of this award or the TESOL Excellence in Teaching Award
Note: Nominees are not required to be members of TESOL International Association.


TESOL recognizes the hard work and dedication required to be an outstanding teacher. The TESOL Teacher of the Year Award, presented by National Geographic Learning, was created by TESOL and National Geographic Learning to recognize and honor exceptional English language teachers at all levels.


The winner will receive
  • US$1,000
  • Free 1-year membership
  • US$250 voucher for the TESOL Bookstore
  • Free registration for the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo the year of the award, plus 3 nights hotel and round-trip airfare
  • A session as an invited speaker at the annual convention 
  • An invitation to the President’s Reception and the Leadership Luncheon at the annual convention
  • A profile and a published article in TESOL Connections


Applicants are evaluated on their ability to
  • inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. 
  • create a supportive and encouraging learning environment by providing quality language instruction based on well-articulated theory, philosophy, educational research and best practice.
  • incorporate innovative and effective lesson strategies and evaluation techniques by utilizing new scholarship from TESOL or related fields.
  • demonstrate evidence of positive teacher effect on student learning through formal and/or informal documentation. 
  • have a positive impact on students and colleagues.
  • participate in continuing professional development.
  • play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school demonstrated through collaborative partnerships and relationships.
  • demonstrate involvement in the field (e.g. membership in TESOL or an affiliate) 
  • demonstrate a commitment to English language teaching.

Submission Process

Nominators should be prepared to submit a 350 word letter of nomination.
Note: multiple nominations for an individual will be discarded.

Applicants should be prepared to write the following short answer essays:

  1. Please describe your educational background and your reasons for becoming a teacher. (300 words maximum). 
  2. Provide an account of professional development. (Focus on teaching experience, association membership and participation, workshops conducted, current involvement in and/or plans for further education and other creative endeavors or activities that could enhance teaching. 200 words, maximum.)
  3. Outline your role within your school and its community. (Include roles in which you provide useful and active service to students and the community, and any personal and social service to students outside the classroom. Describe any collaborative partnerships or relationships that you have begun or participated in. 200 words, maximum.)
  4. Describe a specific lesson plan or project you have taught in the past year. (Focus on the innovative qualities of the lesson plan, specific strategies, and evaluation techniques. Explain how the lesson motivated and encouraged students, and how the lesson plan is exemplary of your overall mode of teaching rather than a singular occurrence. 300 words, maximum.)
  5. Other accomplishments. (List any relevant accomplishments, awards, or recognitions not mentioned elsewhere. 100 words, maximum.)
  6. Explain your views on excellence in teaching. (Explanation should be in the context of your particular teaching situation and students. 200 words, maximum.)
Applicants are required to submit a CV (5 pages, maximum) and at least two letters of reference. Additional materials that support the applicant’s competencies, such as teaching materials, letters from students, colleagues, or parents; and performance reviews are optional. Up to three additional materials will be accepted (all additional materials are limited to two pages).

Click here to begin nomination/application process.

Application Deadline

Nominations: 15 June
Applications: 30 June