Justification Toolkit

The Value of Attending the 2013 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo

As an English language educator, you value attending the TESOL convention. The current economic downturn has caused many school districts, governments, and other organizations to slash travel and education budgets. To obtain the financial support you need from your employer, you will likely have to justify your attendance. To help you, TESOL has prepared the following resources.

General Information

Talking Points

Ways to Save

Expenses vs. Benefits

Justification Letter for Your Supervisor

General Information

As the largest convention focused exclusively on English language teaching for speakers of other languages, the 2013 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo is the best place to get professional development in the field. Every year, more than 6,000 English language teaching professionals take advantage of this opportunity.

The 2013 TESOL convention offers more than 700 sessions (over 30,000 hours of learning) for attendees to choose from. You can attend as many sessions as you want, including plenary sessions and invited speaker sessions, and if you register by 1 February 2013, the member rate is only $320 ($535 nonmembers). Over just four days, you can learn about the latest research in the field, current best-practices, and even pick-up a lesson plan or two, and you will have numerous opportunities to network with colleagues.

Talking Points

Here is a list of talking points that should help you get the approval you need.

  • With over 700 sessions to choose from and the expo hall, it’s like getting an entire year’s worth of continuing education in just 4 days.
  • The knowledge and training that you will bring back to your job is a return on the investment.
  • You can share your new knowledge and training with your colleagues. This way, everyone in your workplace can benefit from your attendance.
To help you make your presentation, you can use the following resources:
  • Keep the handouts from the sessions you attend.
  • Access the TESOL Resource Center (TRC) for quality video of all plenary sessions.
  • Show greeting videos from other attendees on TESOL’s YouTube Channel.
  • Show photo highlights from TESOL’s Facebook page.
  • Access online convention session recordings. These are audio-synchronized, downloadable MP3 files, available 24 hours a day for your convenience.

You can get CEUs for attending the convention. TESOL partners with a local institution every year to get you CEUs for the Pre- and Postconvention Institutes, K-12 Day, and even the convention sessions. This argument is especially powerful if you are required to get a certain number of CEUs each year.

  • Remind your supervisor that there will be major and exclusive discounts on publications and other useful products from TESOL and other companies exhibiting at the convention.
  • Find a colleague who will cover for you during your time out of the office. Your supervisor will appreciate your initiative and will see you as very responsible.
  • By arriving early you can take advantage of full and half day preconvention workshops or K-12 Day for a small additional cost.

Ways to Save

Although your attendance at the convention can be seen as an expense, you can show your supervisor the different ways you can help minimize the costs. Here are some ways you can save:

  • Consider sharing your hotel room with another attendee. TESOL will offer an online system to help you find a roommate.
  • If you become a member for $98 you can get the member registration rate of $320. The nonmember registration rate is $535, so you’ll save $120—and you’ll get TESOL Member Benefits throughout the year, which includes free webinars.
  • Get a co-worker to attend the convention with you and if you register by 1 February 2013, his/her registration will be $285. That’s a $35 savings.
  • Are you a student? If you qualify for the Student Membership, your dues would be $33 and your registration would be $140. You’ll save $395 off the nonmember rate or $180 off the member rate. To see if you qualify for student membership, visit the TESOL page.
  • TESOL offers a discounted rate for a group of five or more attendees from the same institution. Each registration will be $275 if everybody is a member. That’s a $45 savings for each registration.

Expenses vs. Benefits

Though you can easily see the benefits of attending the convention, you may need to show your supervisor that the benefits exceed the expenses. Try to list concrete benefits that your attendance will bring not only to you, but also to your workplace. Rather than focus on how much you want to attend the convention, focus on how the benefits of attendance will help meet current workplace needs. Compare those benefits with the expenses and be prepared to sell your points to your supervisor. The following tables will help you get started.



Convention registration


Ticketed events (PCIs, K-12 Dream Day, TESOL LDCP)






Transportation: airport to hotel


Transportation: hotel to airport


Mileage reimbursement (if driving to conference)


Parking reimbursement (at airport for flight departure, or at hotel where conference is located)


Food per diem


Total Expense



Benefits to Your Employer

How Do Benefits Meet Current Needs?



New knowledge, training, enhanced expertise


New specific knowledge or training to share with colleagues


Team building (if sending a group)


Learning about new technology and tools


Learning new workplace processes


Learning about the latest research


Exposure to useful new products and services (Exhibit Hall)



Remember: You should be ready to answer any question that your supervisor may have. After you provide all the necessary information to your supervisor, he/she will assess the information before making the decision. Your supervisor’s decision will likely depend on the information you provide and how well you sell the benefits of attending the convention. Good luck!

Justification Letter for Your Supervisor

Another way to convince your supervisor to sponsor your convention attendance is to write him/her a letter. Below is a letter template that you can use to explain to your supervisor why he/she should sponsor your convention attendance. Please feel free to adapt it in any way that you want.

Letter to Supervisor

< Date >

Dear < supervisor’s name >,

I would like to attend the 2013 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo, the largest convention focused exclusively on English language teaching for speakers of other languages. The convention will be held 20–23 March 2013, in Dallas, Texas. This is the most important conference for English language teaching professionals worldwide, and it draws more than 6,000 attendees every year. I am seeking sponsorship for the registration fee, travel expenses to the conference, and living expenses during the conference. A detailed cost breakdown is included below. I believe this is a wise investment.

The TESOL conference offers a number of education sessions that are directly applicable to my work, and most offer Continuing Education Units. The conference will also enable me to network with a variety of experts and colleagues from around the world. The presentations are tailored to English language teaching professionals and provide information on how to <list benefits to your responsibilities>

After reviewing the conference brochure, I have identified numerous education sessions that will help me gain knowledge and understanding about how we can improve. The presentations are facilitated by fellow English language teachers and researchers who have faced similar challenges. Each of the presentations listed below is directly related to an issue we currently face. Getting the information in a seminar format will enable me to share the information with my colleagues at, <institution name> thereby improving the work we all do. (Incidentally, I have listed only a few of the relevant seminars. Including them all would make this memo much too long.)

The full price conference fee is $535 <insert member price here if relevant> if I register by 1 February 2012, but if I join TESOL when I register, I can save $117.

Here is the breakdown of conference costs:

Roundtrip Airfare: <$xxxx>

Transportation: <$xxxx>

Hotel: <$xxxx>

Meals: <$xxxx>

Conference Fee: <$xxxx>

Total costs: <$xxxx>. <If you have found ways to save money, you should enter them here>

As you can see, my attendance at the 2013 TESOL International Convention &  English Language Expo is a wise investment that will yield rich dividends for < name of your organization >. I look forward to discussing the convention with you at you convenience.


< your name here >