I have just returned from the 16th Braz-TESOL International Conference in Caxias do Sul, and I caught myself thinking: Do we really need associations? Nowadays, you can find most of what you need online and for free, schools and teachers offer great content on YouTube, blogs and on their own pages. For instance, if you are looking for information about Cambridge certificates, google it. If you need information about methods and approaches, google it. In need of resources for your classes? Not a problem, google it.
Time and time again, teachers, colleagues and friends ask me: ‘Why on Earth are you part of associations if you can find everything online?’ Well, they are right, but only to some extent.
At the moment, I am a member of three teachers associations: Braz-TESOL, IATEFL and TESOL, this means that it is a huge investment and I need to be smart with my yearly budget.
Even though I am part of a team, I work most of my time on my own, teaching online in my office in Granja Viana, São Paulo, and you know what? It can be really lonely at times. The fact that I don’t need to be stuck in traffic is Heaven, but there are moments that I feel the need to exchange ideas with people outside my context, and associations provide me with several opportunities to do that.
For the past 5 years, I have attended a considerable amount events and they allowed me to meet fascinating people. For example, John Corbett, Hugo Dart, Andrea Del Rio and Bruno Lima, a group of brilliant and highly-qualified professionals who welcomed me to the Intercultural Language Education Special Interest Group. Henrick Oprea, an incredible professional with a big heart and enough drive to lead masses. Adriana Lima, sharp, witty and straight-to-the-point, someone willing to work hard and make the difference in other teachers’ lives. Sarah Walker, one of the founding members of Braz-TESOL, but to me she is simply a phenomenal human being, humble and accessible. These are just a few of the many professionals that made an impact in my career.
Associations, such as Braz-TESOL, IATEFL and TESOL, not only contribute to your career development in terms of networking, but they also offer exclusive content. As a member of the IATEFL BESIG, I receive top-notch Newsletters filled with articles which focus on the field I work. TESOL grants members with myTESOL Lounge, a forum designed specifically to discuss and interact with teachers around the world. Braz-TESOL promotes events in the entire country and this year, there are still many to come.
All in all, what associations mean to me is having a sense of belonging, the feeling that I can contribute to my peers and that I can do more.
“Knowledge is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything.”
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Photos: Sarah Walker, Roseli Serra, Alessandra Machado, Virgínia Borges, Fernando Guarany, Vinícius Tavares, Elcio Souza, Ivan Takaki Ajimura, Juliana Tavares, John Corbett, Hugo Dart, Dorothy Zemach, Rob Howard, BE/ILE/E SIGs PCE (July 19th, 2018).
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