I recently had the pleasure of delving into TESL Ontario’s past by reading through decades of annual reports, Contact magazines, conference reports and other historical documents. It was fascinating to discover this organization’s rich and remarkable history, and to uncover TESL Ontario’s role in the development of the TESL profession over the past 50 years.
In a recent interview with some of TESL Ontario’s most influential members, (a project we are developing for our 50th anniversary celebrations at the conference), Shailja Verma stated “TESL Ontario has taken us from church basements to recognized institutions and buildings.”
In this pandemic reality, a virtual world like no other has been born. Pre-pandemic, our members enjoyed a combination of online and in-person events that fulfilled both professional development needs, as well as authentic peer connections. Since 2014, TESL Ontario had been focusing its efforts on providing accessible online professional development to our members. Our successful webinar series has always allowed members to gain new skills and expand their knowledge from the comfort of their own homes. However, at that time they had other options available to them, if they were looking for something more. If they were seeking tangible connections, organic conversations with other ESL practitioners, or a basic sense of community, they often turned to in-person events, such as our annual conference, or local affiliate chapter conferences and other professional development events.