Do Something for Your Brain

The challenges of 2020 are requiring all of us to take better care of ourselves. That can mean different things to different people, but we all know that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we will not be able to care for those entrusted to us, including our students. 

Two weeks ago, I suggested several ways you may need to take of yourself, both physically and emotionally. If those areas are fairly stable for you, perhaps you may need to think about your cognitive health. As an educator, you are sharing knowledge and skills with your students on a daily basis. If you have taught long, this may have become quite routine for you, but the additional layers of remote learning and the required technology usage this year may be depleting your mental energy.

How about attending a virtual conference for a cognitive pick-me-up? 

One positive aspect of the 2020 need to social distance is that many, if not almost all, conferences are occurring virtually this year. This is a great opportunity to attend professional development sessions you might have never had access to before. In many cases, the cost of the conference is lower than it has been in the past. Even if it isn’t, there won’t be any travel, lodging, or additional food expenses since you can attend from your own living room. You can attend a conference in the morning and still go get groceries for your family or do laundry in the afternoon. (I know. Grocery shopping and laundry aren’t at the top of my “fun” list either, but at least they won’t pile up while you’re out of town!)

I attended the virtual International TESOL Convention back in July and learned several helpful ideas to include in my teaching. Just last week, I began an online four-week professional development course offered by TESOL International. It’s all about understanding the difference between language proficiency and learning disability. This is a topic I have often felt underprepared to discuss with my own teacher education students. In the Week 1 readings I have already learned important concepts that I will be incorporating into my class discussions next semester.

So how about you? 

Here is a list of upcoming conferences that I have seen advertised recently. These are being held in October or November 2020, and some of the registration deadlines are quickly approaching. Take a serious look at the options readily available to you…

Washington TESOL Annual Conference (October 23 & 24, 2020)
2020 Vision: Transforming our Tomorrow
https://2020waesolannualconference.sched.com
Arizona TESOL Annual State Conference (October 23-25)
The Power of Translanguaging: Living in Two Languages as One
https://aztesol.org/attend/upcoming-conferences/
Maryland TESOL 40th Annual Fall Conference (November 6 & 7)
Empowerment & Momentum: Language, Justice, and Technology
https://marylandtesol.wildapricot.org/event-3957930
Wisconsin TESOL Conference (November 7)
Honing Our Skills to Help Students Tell Their Stories
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/witesol-2020-virtual-conference-tickets-117840276439
Sunshine State (Florida) TESOL Virtual Conference (November 13 & 14)
30 Years Consent Decree
https://sunshinestatetesol.wildapricot.org/page-1075477
New York State TESOL 50th Annual Conference (November 13 & 14)
https://nystesol.org/register_for_the_2020_virtual.php
Indiana TESOL Conference (November 14)
Equity and Access for Language Learners
https://intesol.org/page-18113

And if you are interested in perusing the short-term professional development courses offered by TESOL International, here is where to find them…

TESOL International Association Online Courses & Virtual Seminars
https://www.tesol.org/attend-and-learn/online-courses-seminars

Taking some time for yourself to attend a virtual conference may be just the mental boost you need. You’ll leave with new ideas to apply in your classroom and inspiration to continue the important work you do with ELs and their families every day.

Share in the comments below…

  • Do you know of other virtual conferences to recommend?
  • Have you attended a virtual conference recently? 
  • What’s one thing you learned from the conference?
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