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Grants and Awards

The TESOL Teacher of the Year Award

Presented by National Geographic Learning


To honor 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. 

How to Apply

Any English language teacher who has been a classroom teacher for a minimum of three consecutive years. Applicants are not required to be members of TESOL International Association.

The winner will receive:

  • U.S.$1,000.
  • Free 1-year TESOL membership.
  • 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 a leadership event at the annual convention. 
  • A profile in TESOL Connections
  • A published article or featured webinar
  • U.S.$250 voucher for the TESOL Bookstore.

Applicants will be evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate excellence in English language teaching. Applications should demonstrate candidates’ commitment to high quality and innovation in instruction and assessment practices in their particular educational context, in addition to the ability to lead, serve, inspire, and positively impact students as well as colleagues and the professional community. The Teacher of the Year Award also recognizes teachers with a deep commitment to ongoing professional development and learning and issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in language education. For more details, please see the Evaluation Rubric.     

The application process consists of two rounds. In the initial round, applications will be reviewed to select only a few to move on to the second and final round.

First Application Round

To complete this part of the application process, you will need the following information. 

  1. Describe your educational background and your reasons for becoming a teacher (300 words, maximum).
  2. Outline your role within your institution and its community. Please 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 (300 words, maximum).
  3. Describe a specific lesson plan or project y ou have taught in the past year. Please focus on the innovative qualities of the lesson plan, specific strategies, and student assessment practices. Provide evidence/explanation why it is innovative in your particular context. Explain how the lesson motivated and encouraged students’ engagement, and how the lesson plan is exemplary of your overall mode of teaching rather than a singular occurrence (300 words, maximum).
  4. Provide an account of professional development. Please focus on 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 (300 words maximum).
  5. Explain your views on excellence in teaching, including how you address issues of equity, diversity, inclusion and access in your classroom and beyond. The explanation should be in the context of your particular teaching situation and students (300 words, maximum).
  6. Other accomplishments. Please list any relevant accomplishments, awards, or recognitions not mentioned elsewhere (200 words, maximum).

Applicants are required to submit a CV (5 pages maximum).

A letter from the applicant's current supervisor and a letter from a colleague or former supervisor is required. You will be asked to provide contact email addresses for the people writing letters of recommendation for you. They will receive a message from at the address that you provide, inviting them to upload their letter of recommendation directly to the application system.

Please ask your letter writers to watch for a message from To ensure that they receive the message, please ask them to add to their contacts or their spam whitelist.

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 may be uploaded to support the application (all additional materials are limited to two pages).

Second Application Round

After the initial evaluation of application materials, the judges select the top candidates. This second round of candidates will be prompted to submit a convention session proposal for the annual TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo.

Candidates will be asked to prepare a 10-word title, a 50-word abstract, and a 300-word session description. The presentation can be a classroom-based practice proposal on any topic. Upon review of the convention session proposals, the winner will be selected.

Apply Now

Submit Your Online Application

The application deadline is 15 September.

2024 Recipient

Luis Javier Pentón Herrera is a full professor at Akademia Ekonomiczno-Humanistyczna w Warszawie, Poland. He is a Fulbright specialist and an English language specialist with the U.S. Department of State. He previously served as Maryland TESOL's 38th president, and he earned the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). 

Past Award Recipients

View a list of past recipients.


Please contact TESOL Awards.

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