Recently I had written about why I joined TESL Ontario and my local affiliate chapter in Ottawa. To follow up, I would like to explain how I went about the process in hopes that this would inspire others to see just how easy it is to participate. Having attended a number of TESL Ottawa events, I was in awe of the amount of work and effort put forth by the local volunteers. There were always messages encouraging new members to join its executive and when curiosity got the best of me, I approached the friendly faces to ask for more information.
I wasn’t sure of what I could do to contribute, but was quickly reassured that there was more than one way to help. At TESL Ottawa, I submitted my intent to join the executive and was soon notified that I would be voted in at the following AGM. The first year was a flurry of activities and plenty of learning opportunities. The friendly faces were correct; there were many ways I was able to lend my assistance and I was able to jump right in.
After 6 years serving TESL Ottawa, the same curiosity arose with TESL Ontario. Every year I look forward to TESL Ontario’s annual conference with great anticipation. When I saw an email announcing recruitment for new board members, I went to TESL Ontario’s website to do a bit of research. The current board was made up of teachers, researchers and administrators from backgrounds across all ESL learning environments. I wanted to contribute to the profession and felt that my voice and my concerns were similar to those of my peers.
The application form was downloaded from TESL Ontario’s website and I filled it out, double checking that I had everything I wanted to include added. I included two references, who were excited while I became more and more nervous. After sending in my application and all of the additional forms, I waited to hear back. When a response did arrive in my inbox, I learned that I had been selected as a candidate. The next step involved putting together my biography and seeing myself go up for election amongst the entire TESL Ontario membership. I started receiving emails from former colleagues who sent me their best wishes as I grew more and more anxious.
When the online poll closed, I waited for the results to arrive without any hint as to whether or not I received enough votes from the membership. I was over the moon when the results did arrive soon after. I was excited to be able to serve TESL Ontario and continue to feel as motivated as my first days of teaching.
For more information about TESL Ontario’s conference and AGM, visit the TESL Ontario website.
Sharon Deng has over a decade of teaching experience in LINC, ESL and private sector settings. She currently sits on the TESL Ontario Board of Directors and had served as President, Affiliate Chapter Representative and Program Chair for TESL Ottawa.