Having served on the board for many years, I am honored to serve as the 2012-2013 President. The Board is committed to promoting SSTESOL’s mission “to provide educators access to professional development, resources, and interaction, and to provide leadership and advocacy in language policy issues.” This mission is guides the work of the Board.
My shared vision for 2012-2013 is two-fold. First, we will continue to ensure that educators are informed about laws, mandates, “best” instructional practices, textbooks, technology, and the latest research on second language acquisition and culture. This happens through ongoing advocacy efforts that are often spearheaded by board members and/or friends of the Board, and during our annual conference held in May. Please visit our website (http://www.sstesol.org) in mid fall for details regarding the 2013 conference.
Secondly, the Board members and myself are committed to ensuring the vitality of the local TESOL chapters. As the statewide affiliate to TESOL International, we have a vested interested in the success of the local chapters. ESOL professionals across the state should have healthy, convenient networks for providing support. Following SSTESOL’s constitution, it is my vision that new chapters will be chartered, existing chapters will be revived, and healthy relationships will abound.
As a member of friend of SSTESOL, I charge you to become more involved in your local chapter, SSTESOL, and TESOL International. If you are interested in advocacy, join our list serve at http://www.sunshine-tesol/advocacylistserve.htm. If you or colleagues are interested in serving on the board, submit nominations during the call for nominations early spring 2013. While we expect that you will attend the conference in May 2013, we also urge you to submit proposals for the conference. We learn from one another’s research, experiences, and practices. Your ideas and contributions are always welcome. Our door is open at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we are stronger.
Kisha C. Bryan, Ph.D.
Welcome to Orlando, and the 34th annual SSTESOL Conference, Passport to Success: Innovation and Collaboration in TESOL! We are glad you are here and look forward to this time together. The 2012 conference team has worked hard to plan and deliver a world-class event filled with many opportunities for exciting and rewarding professional growth. If you are new to the TESOL community, we extend a warm welcome; if you are a veteran TESOL participant, welcome back. Whether your focus is K-12, higher education, EFL, adult ESOL, or teacher preparation, we think you will find something of interest to you over the next few days.
In accordance with our theme, this year’s conference will provide a forum for sharing innovative ideas and collaborating with experts and professionals in our field. The beauty of ESOL is the multitude of perspectives and experiences that shape our world. The English language is a splendid ferry which guides us through international waters and expands our horizons. I hope that in attending this SSTESOL conference, you are able to increase your knowledge, gain new skills, gather ideas, and broaden your perspectives.
While you’re here, please take the time to visit our publishers and vendors. There you will find an array of materials to hone your skills or enhance your course offerings. Our exhibitors are the backbone of our conference, and have graciously sponsored several of our expert plenary speakers.
Finally, after all is said and done, enjoy Orlando. We chose this venue largely because of the family-friendly environment. After a full day of academic sessions and multiple workshops, take some time to relax and explore the city. Take advantage of the cultural and linguistic diversity that makes this area a prime destination. We like it so much that we’ve decided to return in 2013 for our next SSTESOL Conference!
Thank you for coming, and I hope you have a fantastic conference experience. Please feel free to stop and introduce yourself and share your feedback. The conference team strives to make this event exceed your expectations every year.
As posted in the Messenger Winter 2010/Spring 2011
This year our membership had the pleasure of having a wonderful vibrant president leading the Sunshine State TESOL Organization throughout the year and in preparation for the May 2011 conference. Nora Dawkins led the organization with a kind, but purposeful hand, and she has gotten the business of the organization done with a smile and positive words. Nora Dawkins is dedicated to the profession, to her colleagues on the board, but more than that to the membership of this worthwhile organization. She never for a moment strays from the goals of the organization and kept in mind, always, the ESOL students.
ESOL students need their fair share of an equal and comparable education as given to the native English speakers. Because they are not native English speakers it is appropriate to speak on their behalf when necessary; the board of Sunshine State TESOL does that in many ways by assuring that teachers are informed about laws, mandates, instructional practices, textbooks, social media, workshops at conferences and on the latest important research in second language learning. The president’s duty and work during the year is to build up to the yearly Sunshine State TESOL conference; to show that a successful conference brings positive aspects to professional educators from school districts, colleges and universities in Florida. Together participants share their expertise and compassion for the ESOL students and for the profession. Nora Dawkins and the Sunshine State TESOL Board dedicate their time and effort to this noble cause. The efforts are enriching everyone’s perspective of their chosen profession. The Board lives up to the Mission Statement in that it provides educators access to resources and professional development, interaction and leadership.
Nora Dawkins will be missed as president, but the Board and the Membership have the fortune to have her continue to serve as Immediate Past President.
As posted in the Messenger Fall 2009
Fall in Florida is different from other places. The long hot summer begins to show signs of easing, while our weather attention regularly gets drawn to events in the tropics. Back at school, fall brings the promise of a new academic year with fresh faces and new goals. It’s a time of year when educators work hard, buoyed by a sense having a whole year ahead. I hope that your year has gotten off to a successful start, and you are still feeling creative and energized.
For SSTESOL it is also a new season. Having served the board for many years as treasurer, I am happy to now contribute as president. SSTESOL is an amazing organization, benefitting many in Florida. “The mission of SSTESOL is to provide educators access to professional development, resources, and interaction, and to provide leadership and advocacy in language policy issues.” This mission is what guides the work of the board.
Our main professional development event is our annual state conference, usually taking place in the spring. However this time, in lieu of the state conference, we are hosting an even larger event, the Southeast Regional TESOL Conference. It is scheduled for September 22-25, 2010 in Miami at the Biscayne Bay Marriott Hotel. If you joined us in Miami last spring, the venue will be a familiar one. We have already begun to line up speakers, including Kate Kinsella, Neil Anderson, and Andrew Cohen among others. The regional conference attracts TESOLers from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia, and of course, Florida. It provides exciting opportunities for professional development and networking.
We hope that you will make plans to come to Miami in 2010, and consider presenting or volunteering to support your organization. If you need help, a limited number of travel grants will be offered. I will always remember my first TESOL conference. It was 1987 in Miami, and I was a TESOL grad student at FIU. I made friends and contacts there that have lasted across the years – including one with a publisher’s rep who later became an acquisitions editor. When a time came in my life that I wanted to write and edit ESL textbooks, she is the one who opened doors for me.
In terms of resources, leadership, and advocacy, your best source is to visit our website at www.sstesol.org . If you want to learn about, or get involved with advocacy for ELLs, you can join our list serve . A key issue currently in debate is the distinction between teaching reading and teaching ESL. An educator who is a specialist in teaching reading is not necessarily a specialist in second language reading and learning. We will soon post a position paper on this topic to support TESOL colleagues in voicing such concerns. We know that for ELLs with diverse proficiencies to understand written materials, they need to spend time on specific acts of second language learning with teachers who have strong knowledge bases about their needs.
Ideas and contributions from SSTESOL members are always welcome. Our door is open at email@example.com . Please keep in touch, or even consider nominating yourself to become a board member. We will have elections this spring, and the nominating committee is just beginning its work.
Cynthia M. Schuemann
Miami Dade College