Friday, February 01, 2008

Big Apple for the teachers

Today is noteworthy for several reasons, besides being payday. You may have noticed that I've renamed this blog- partly because of a general trend of using my formal name (Thomas) with all my esl-related work, and with more of my life in general. People still call me Tom, of course, and I don't want that to change- yet I find that when I sign things, and when I present myself to the world, in particular the esl world- I'm more often using Thomas. And I'm trying to give the blog a general makeover- partly because I'm going to start using it to present a consistent philosophy about language learning and teaching that I've been propagating through my writing. I actually got started writing, and got into the habit, by blogging- and because that was deliberately informal, I used small letters, and used "tom"...well, things change, and this just did. More changes on their way.

But the point of this post is this. Recently an siuc grad became incoming president of the TESOL organization, at the same time the huge TESOL Convention is planning for its upcoming bash in none other than New York City. As a regular presenter I've been looking forward to this one, wishing I could plan my presentations a little more or better, but also somewhat awed by the fact that I'm off to the big apple itself to do this. It better be good! This also will be in April, and, as we know, April rocks! But it's also gotten me to mull over what this convention has meant to me over the years, and, what the organization itself has meant. I hope to do a series on this, if I can come up with enough useful to say: I think TESOL and its members need to speak up a little, I'm just a little shy. I'm getting over it though. My sister, a musician who actually lives there, has performed the Empire State Building, if I'm not mistaken. The Sheraton may be the closest I get to going uptown, playing the Garden myself. But, in its own kind of way, going to New York is also like coming home. This is because going there involves going through, or at least flying over, all of the places where I grew up: Ohio, Pennsylvania, western New York state; that busy, windy, polluted kind of feeling gives me a kind of excitement, a foot on the gas that I have only rarely experienced since I moved out here to the wide-open, hilly river valleys something like thirty years ago....I'm inclined to take my banjo, but the darned case doesn't stay shut, and there's way too much trouble in the airports these days. Forgive the ramble....I'll bring details; I hope to meet up with old friends there, and hope, also, to have time to at least say hello.

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