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Why Attend #TESOL19? Hear from the TESOL 2019 Ambassadors!

The TESOL 201​9 Ambassadors are English language professionals and students, just like you, who have agreed to share their convention experiences with other attendees. ​Follow them on social media and subscribe to the TESOL Blog to hear their first-hand accounts, tips for attendees, and more!

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Glen Ryan Alejandro

English Language Teacher
English Language Institute of San Francisco, California, USA
Teaching: 23 years
TESOL Conventions Attended: 7

At the TESOL ​Convention, educators and scholars from more than 100 countries exchange ideas and practices, giving attendees the great opportunity to learn different ways to teach based on various cultural perspectives. The TESOL ​Convention is a forum that provides attendees with an opportunity to voice their own views and also to listen to others’ perspectives or to initiate actions on issues that matter the most to them.

When I first attended the TESOL ​Convention held in Maryland, USA, in 2003, I had the great opportunity to represent my nonnative-English-speaking community and voice my opinion as a nonnative-English-speaking language teacher. As a TESOL 2019 Ambassador, I look forward to sharing with my colleagues my inspiring story of how I started my English language teaching career in the Philippines and how TESOL became instrumental in supporting my professional development. I am excited to share my teaching journey—from being an ESL learner to an ESL teacher and eventually to becoming a teacher trainer.

 Follow Glen!
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Yi-Chun Cheng

ESL & Chinese Language Teacher
​The University of Mississippi, Mississippi, USA
Teaching: 8 years
TESOL Conventions Attended: 1

When I attended my first TESOL Convention in 2018 in Chicago as a graduate student, I didn't know what to expect. I left the convention feeling motivated and inspired, not only through the presentations and the workshops I attended, but the conversations and friendships I made with fellow attendees.

This year, as a newly minted TESOL graduate and teacher, I'm excited to attend different types of sessions such as dialogue, panel, poster, presentation, teaching tip, and workshop. I am also looking forward to having more conversations with other attendees from all over the world who share my same passion for learning and teaching. 

I have wonderful memories of TESOL 2018, and these experiences were invaluable, which is why I cannot wait to attend TESOL 2019 and share what I see, learn, and experience.

 Follow Yi-Chen!
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Iftikhar Haider

Student & Teacher
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA
Teaching: ​9 years
TESOL Conventions Attended: ​8

English language teaching professionals should attend TESOL to polish their skills as well as pick up on new trends and ideas related to challenging teaching situations. In just 4 days, attendees can broaden their perspective on a number of key pedagogical issues. 

Last year in Chicago, Illinois, USA, I was able to learn about a ton of new tech tools at the Electronic Village and gleaned new ideas about connecting vocabulary and grammar instruction with the help of cool technological innovations.

My time at past TESOL Conventions has been a unique and unforgettable experience. I have been impacted not only by conference presentations but also by connecting with other professionals in my field of expertise. I am constantly inspired by the sparkling energy from the great presenters who truly represent the whole world in a diverse professional TESOL community. Each year, we see so many nationalities come together at the annual TESOL Convention, so there is a great opportunity to learn from a variety of perspectives and to build a global understanding of English teaching.

I am looking forward to a great TESOL experience in March 2019.

 Follow ​Iftikhar!
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Stephanie Marcotte

ESL Professor
Holyoke Community College, Massachusetts, USA
Teaching: ​​5 years
TESOL Conventions Attended: ​​​​2

TESOL Conventions are a profoundly moving space that bring together professionals from all corners of the world. There is simply nothing as unifying, supportive, and educational as the annual TESOL Convention. Each session, activity, gathering, and informal coffee conversation fills me with motivation, inspiration, and purpose. As a TESOL Ambassador, I am eager to share my experiences as both a young TESOL professional and young leader.

As our field continues to develop and reflect the world that we are in, it is vital that we come together to reorient ourselves and the field to best address these needs. The TESOL Convention is the place where all TESOL professionals have an equal say and voice at the table. These conversations and developments impact our affiliates, professional development opportunities, literature, classroom practice, and more. 

I look forward to taking advantage of all that the convention has to offer in order to be a more responsive, mindful, and reflective practitioner within the field. 

 Follow ​Stephanie!
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Erika Mejia

Academic Coordinator
Instituto Gardner, Campeche, Mexico
Teaching: ​​​12 years
TESOL Conventions Attended: ​​​1

The TESOL Convention is a great opportunity for encouraging professional development, increasing tech savviness, and, at the same time, creating special bonds among English language teaching professionals. It provides everyone with the opportunity to exchange ideas, techniques, experiences, and tips. Every single ELT or EFL professional should attend as an essential part of their professional development in order to keep updated so that we are able to engage students and help them reach their goals.

Last year, I was very impressed with the number of sessions I could attend. As an academic coordinator, I am always looking for different approaches, methods, and innovative resources and ideas to share with my team to foster and nourish our students' learning.

I am so looking forward to attending the 2019 TESOL Convention because it will be my second TESOL Convention and because I will be there as an ambassador. I am keen on gaining more experience and tips and making new friends just as I did back at TESOL 2018 in Chicago.

 Follow ​​Erika!
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Suzanne Rajkumar

Teacher, Researcher, Administrator, and Founder​ of CBC
Corporate Bilingual Consultancy (CBC), Cortes, Honduras
Teaching: ​​​23 years
TESOL Conventions Attended: ​​​1

TESOL Conventions help you think outside of the box and, in this case, outside of the classroom. They engage and empower you to explore more options in your professional teaching career than simply being in a class. TESOL Conventions are a prime ground to explore, inquire, network, and engage in new or renewed interests in different learning theories. I would recommend the convention wholeheartedly as a meeting point for collaboration and developing new bonds that can lead to exciting new places you might never have thought about if you had not left the classroom to grow, expand, and become all you can be for the benefit of your students!

This will be my second TESOL convention and I am hooked: travelling to a different city, meeting old and new friends, great workshops, and new opportunities to become reenergized and grow as an educator and mentor. I have great expectations for TESOL 2019!

Follow ​​Suzanne!
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Greg Wickersham

EL Coordinator 
DeKalb County School District & GATESOL, Georgia, USA
Teaching: ​​21 years
TESOL Conventions Attended: ​​​3

The annual TESOL Convention is one of the most worthwhile opportunities to network with ESOL colleagues from around the world, engage in valuable professional learning from diverse perspectives, stay current in the field as a professional, and learn about the plethora of resources available to ESOL teachers at whichever level you teach. I have attended 3 TESOL conventions in the past, and, every time, I return with knowledge and resources that improve my professional practice.

I am so excited about TESOL coming to this wonderful town, my adopted city—the A-T-L! I am looking forward to many things at this year's convention, including meeting and networking with passionate and talented colleagues from around the world, including fellow affiliate leaders from whom I learned so much last year; learning and sharing new and innovative ideas for teaching and advocating for English learners; hearing from dynamic speakers; and, of course, welcoming others to this fabulous city. If you're reading this you're going to love it here. Let me welcome you with the words of our city's favorite pregame sports chant: "We ready…for y'all!" See you around!

 Follow ​Greg!
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