VenTESOL 2015: A Convention of the Teachers, by the Teachers, for the Teachers’ Mind and Heart*
*In that order
When facts and figures are collected, it seems unbelievable that in just a couple of days we’ve been through all this:
57 concurrent conferences, 3 of which were online sessions
3 bonafide global EdTech authorities
5 plenary sessions
1 plenary colloquium
1 general assembly
7 international speakers
5 past presidents
9 countries from 2 continents represented either by nationality or webmeeting origin
20+ countries participating online
6 Venezuelan plenary speakers
10 national universities represented
5 binational centers
Both American and British ELT cooperation entities
2 cultural performances
2,000+ meals served
1,500+ snacks served, cocktail included
66 professional development hours
10 interest areas addressed, covering both standard and trendsetting ELT topics, with a significant increase in technology, research, and materials writing
#1 TESOL affiliate in the world in 2015
Everybody lives the VenTESOL Spirit in their own personal way. Nevertheless, the following constitutes demonstrable evidence of such intangible asset that makes us a unique community of practice:
• A sea of empathetic flashlights on to help a plenary speaker make her way through and out of a power outage… And later, let there be light, and there was light!!
• Resilient and mindful patience from participants, as hands-on Board members rolled up their sleeves, took matters in their own hands, and gave a living lecture on what giving and serving hearts are by rushing extra meals, thereby solving catering problems. And VenTESOLers helped each other with a dose of good Venezuelan humor!!
• Hundreds of participants looking after each other while taking transportation from and to hotels.
• A sheer sense of awe among our international speakers, namely Pete, Victor Hugo, Marina, and Mary, as they witnessed this level of cooperation amidst inconveniences and adverse circumstances that we Venezuelans are capable of and known by.
• Everybody’s enthusiasm, genuine congratulation, heartfelt reaction, and standing ovation to each cultural performance, Mary Jo’s departure announcement, farewell tribute to Evelín, Sandra’s awarding of professional development diplomas to worthy recipients from every corner of Venezuela, Marcela’s genuine words of admiration towards sister nations and organizations… Yes, on a first-name basis, originating from a deeply rooted conviction and an undying passion for what we do as ELT professionals and practitioners, along with significant, longstanding relationships among mutually esteemed colleagues.
Balance and outcome:
• The first sold-out attendance for any VenTESOL convention ever .
• The convention with most online sessions and EdTech global personalities to date: Pete Sharma, Russell Stannard, and Graham Stanley
• The return of a VenTESOL national convention to Eastern Venezuela, namely Anzoátegui State.
• The first plenary session ever held by an up-and-coming generation of state representatives on their experiences during an innovative thematic regional convention tour.
• The living testimony of a vibrant, thriving ESOL association.
It’s impossible to summarize the VenTESOL experience, even by resorting to a mind-and-heart overview of facts, figures, and anecdotes. To do it it justice, stand by for upcoming chronicles, interviews, polls, and information regarding our new Board of Directors and projects. This is not a standalone account, it’s a full-fledged saga in which we all play a role!
Dear fellow VenTESOLers, follow this story unfolding before our eyes; do what you know best how to do, which is engaging in our topics and joining the conversation on our social media. Not only do you see things happen among us, but, most importantly, it’s our very own VenTESOL history that we make and write together!!
And that’s the joy and privilege of VenTESOL: Teachers helping teachers!!
33rd Ventesol National Convention, May 30, 31
UGMA, Barcelona, Anzoátegui, Venezuela.
By Andrés Ramos
VenTESOL 2014 - All Rights Reserved
Design by @gabscreative