How I spent my spring break

Posted by Sara Robertson (TESOL) on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 2:34 PM PDT

During our spring break, as much as I wanted to shift gears and not think about my studies, I couldn’t. I stayed in the world of teaching English as a second language for a few days while I attended the TESOL 2017 International Convention and English Language Expo at the Washington State Convention Center. I joined thousands of other participants from around the world pondering everything from online teaching and learning to new technology tools to enhance instruction; from overseas job opportunities to new discoveries in neurolinguistics.

I felt like a kid in the candy store, with so many choices and not enough time. But it was a great chance to get an overall feel for the profession, for advances in research on second language learning and applied linguistics, and for practical curriculum and methodology tricks of the trade. Importantly, it was also a place to meet some people and learn about their work and career paths and to hear their suggestions for joining the profession.  I sat in on discussions about opportunities within the U.S. State Department, the Fulbright Program and the Peace Corps, listened to a lecture by preeminent scholar Diane Larsen-Freeman, who talked about the fractal characteristics of natural language; heard seasoned experts talk about their transitions to consulting work and curriculum and program development. The exhibition hall was full of companies and institutions dedicated to a field that is as important as ever in our globalized world. I even got a chance to meet up with a high school friend, a highly recognized expert in teaching grammar, whom I hadn’t seen for decades. Okay, so I missed a chance to go skiing once or twice, or to clean out my basement. That can wait! This time next year the meeting will be in Chicago, and I’ll no longer be a graduate student. I hope by then, though, I will have set out on the next chapter of my career! 

- Sara Robertson (TESOL)