I tried to scour the Internet for motivational/inspirational quotations to start this post. I wanted to really capture the essence of my intention and put it into words using a famous quotation or an iconic figure that would resonate with you. I read quotation after quotation, visited page after page, and no string of words truly said what I wanted to convey today. Why is today so special? Why am I trying to find just the right combination of words?
This week is National Volunteer Week: a week where we focus on those who give their time to make a difference and positively impact something they are passionate about. But how do we show our appreciation? I thought about the TESL Ontario Blog team.
A Glimpse Into the Blog Life
Having worked on this team for about 3 years now, I am surrounded by incredibly passionate volunteers. Our bloggers and administrators give hour after hour of their personal time to write posts, edit posts, publish posts, work out technical glitches, and ensure everything is of high-quality and runs on schedule. Over these years, I have watched, supported, and paddled feverishly alongside them so that to the audience, it seems like a line of ducks gliding across the lake (and of course I’m envisioning the loon here because that’s so Canadiana). I have also experienced the awesomeness (not a word I know, but we’ll let it pass) of this team with back and forth emails at 6am Monday morning when a post won’t publish properly for the 7am deadline or the conversations over holidays because we need a quick turn around on a post.
Why We Need National Volunteer Week
I think that’s why this week is so crucial. It’s not because volunteers need a week just for them. Writing for a blog can be a difficult experience because you can spend hours – even days – thinking of a post that might resonate with the audience and put your creative energy into writing something that will hopefully be engaging…and then you just wait. You wait to see how the audience will react. You wait to see if someone will comment on your post. You wait to see if someone connected with your thought and recognize they’re not alone. But the reality is, the blog world can be visually silent. When I look back on the 160 posts that have been published on this blog since its publication in 2014, I notice the absence of comments on many posts. Yet, when I meet people at conferences or talk with colleagues, they talk about the latest post they read or a post that stuck with them.
The world needs this week because I think we sometimes don’t outwardly recognize the efforts volunteers put out. So I’d like to take this week to recognize the amazing volunteers for TESL Ontario: the conference volunteers, the Contact magazine editors and writers, the webinar team, the social media team (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn), the YouTube team, and the blog team. Perhaps this week, like/share a social media post from TESL Ontario that you would normally smile at but not do anything with, sign up for a webinar and be present in the chat room, or read a blog post and extend the conversation to show your support.
Thank you to all the volunteers. You have made my professional and personal development so much stronger and I am so honoured to have walked along this path with you.
This week is for all of us to be aware of what is going on and to support our community of educators and make a difference together.