BC TEAL, WORKING FOR YOU

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By Jenn Peachey

Like you, the people who dedicated their time to BC TEAL struggled through the uncertainty and anxiety of everything 2020 threw at us. It was a hard year all around! At times, it was a struggle for board and committee members to stay engaged, but we did. We felt our positions were more important than ever because BC TEAL is about keeping us connected: to our friends and colleagues, to our professional development, to our students, and to our jobs or studies. For this reason, and because you may have missed it, we wanted you to know that we are, and will continue to be, working hard for you, the BC TEAL MEMBERS.

The highlights from 2020*

Here’s what BC TEAL did, achieved, created or shared in 2020:

  • Created and shared a collaborative One-Year plan for a goal-driven approach 
  • Started implementing our very important Respectful Interaction Guidelines
  • The Vancouver Island Regional Conference (in person!) 
  • Meet-Ups in January and February 
  • Implemented a COVID19 membership strategy (free for unemployed due to covid19, until March 1, 2021). Find more details here.
  • Offered great PD for the age of covid: What’s Working with Remote Language Training in BC; The Emerging Pandemic Intercultural Work Environment
  • The Employment Skills Webinar 
  • Our first on-line AGM
  • Coffee Times and Happy Hours 
  • The Back to School Boot Camp 
  • The LINC Reboot
  • The Inspiring Speaker Series: Laura Baecher (see the video here), Ness Murby (see the video here), Ismaël Traoré (see the video here)
  • Shared a number of job postings, invitations to participate in research
  • Partnered with AMSSA, SIETAR, and others to bring remote learning to our members
  • Brought in new benefits: Black Bond Books, Learn Your English
  • Implemented surveys to get to know you better
  • Encouraged more members to take on leadership roles by joining committees
  • Developed onboarding for new leaders (committees, regional reps)
  • Created and filled the Regional Rep position of Lower Mainland
  • EAL Week, October 2020, with some regional events
  • Created Terms of Reference for the various committees
  • Upped our game on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: featured membership benefits blitz, event announcements, free resources, and more TCF promotions
  • Reinvigorated the BC TEAL Blog 
  • Created Best Practices for video sharing
  • Awarded and disbursed thousands of dollars in funding for instructor PD, language projects and materials development, and refugee education through the TCF
  • Created a Benefits of Membership promotional video for events and TESL programs
  • Supported the admin staff with a work-from-home office, and closed the commercial office
  • Started work on streamlining the understructures of the office to make services more efficient
  • Said good-bye to our Administrative Manager Jaimie as she moved on to another adventure, and hello to Tanya Tervit, her replacement
  • Said a sad good-bye to Alison Whitmore, a dedicated member of BC TEAL.
  • Saw the development of another free resource: Indigenous Peoples and Canada
  • Had a Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 Newsletter
  • Saw the publication of the Vol. 5 No 1 (2020) BC TEAL Journal

Moving forward

Some of the 2020 initiatives happened behind the scenes, so you may not have noticed them. Others we offered for specific sectors of our membership. Regardless, if you participated in, or contributed to any of these achievements, we want to thank you, and hope that you will continue to join in. Some of the projects will continue into 2021, and we will also continue to create new opportunities for you. That’s where YOU come in. 

BC TEAL needs to know what you would like to see happen in 2021. We can only work toward something if we know it is needed. What do YOU want?  And would you be interested in working toward a specific goal as part of a committee? Do you have skills and ideas just waiting for a place to share them? BC TEAL is only as good as the people who dedicate their extra time and energy to make it work. Imagine what BC TEAL can achieve in 2021 if we all work together for our mutual benefits, for our community!

Write to admin@bcteal.org to share your ideas and suggestions for 2021.

*All these initiatives were made possible by the hard work of the BC TEAL staff and Board, as well as the regional reps and committee leaders.

Bio: Jenn retired from her position as Head Instructor, EAP Pathway Advisor, and Global Competence Certificate Facilitator at Global Village Victoria in 2019. After a year of travel and adventure, she is back on Vancouver Island and happily involved with BC TEAL again.

Building your professional experience (even during a pandemic!): All you need is a BC TEAL membership

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By: Vera Ziwei Wu

Teachers are no strangers to contracts, jumping between jobs, and giving more than what is asked of us to support learners in various settings. As we get so caught up in our daily work, slowly, we become more isolated in our jobs, which challenges our mental health and limits our imaginations. This happens more often now with COVID isolating us from others. 

On the other hand, trying to attend a virtual conference or webinar is becoming increasingly difficult. In addition to not having enough time, we are so overwhelmed with the amount of work we invest in virtual communication, learning and teaching, as well as safe in-person teaching whenever possible, that we rarely want to stay at a computer when we don’t have to. How do we stay connected through small ways to ease our professional isolation while continuously developing ourselves in the profession? I have a few ideas for you.

Engage with your colleagues

You don’t have to do the work all alone! Instead, provide the opportunities for your colleagues to help you by starting a conversation and brainstorming new ideas together to address shared concerns or issues. I have met so many amazing teachers, administrators and people who work in leadership roles supporting teachers through BC TEAL events, and they have been, and still are, my inspirations to stay engaged and support others.

Building a circle of support around you and sharing resources, ideas, and opportunities within the group is a great way to share the workload, stay connected and have fun. Don’t have enough supportive colleagues around you? You can join BC TEAL (for FREE till Mar 1, 2021 if you’re currently unemployed) and get connected!

Present your resources to others (it can be informal and fun!)

If you are a BC TEAL member, you might have already been attending some of the amazing free webinars. The webinars can be almost anything relevant to TESOL, from resources to advocacy, from learner wellbeing to teacher support. Presenters have told us they were terribly scared at the beginning but felt incredibly good after working with us and making the session happen for their colleagues. It’s also zero-cost professional development that you can include on your CV!

BC TEAL can be easily reached at admin@bcteal.org. If you have an idea and are not sure if it will be a good fit, please do connect with us, as we may be able to help with further developing the session and support you with the technical part of the webinar – what better place to start? 

Join a committee 

Why do you feel so good after a productive meeting? It’s the constructive work, as well as the connection and the community for a cause you care about. You may or may not have been very engaged in a committee before, and the idea of joining one might be intimidating. If this is how you feel, try and start with a BC TEAL committee. 

If I have successfully persuaded you, here is the good news: Many of our committees are currently looking for new leaders! Check out our Facebook page and Instagram for posts with more details on the committees, and leave a comment if you have any questions. If you’re not sure which committee is the best fit for you, try this survey and we’ll help you find the right one!

Contribute to the BC TEAL Blog and TEAL News

Writing for the BC TEAL Blog and TEAL News is another place where you can share your resources, experiences and stories with others. This recent newsletter might give you an idea of the diverse topics and styles of writing we may include. No research is required, and all we need is you with ideas on classroom activities, anecdotes and stories about your experiences, or reports about talks, seminars, or conferences that you’ve attended, reflections on English language learning or anything else your fellow colleagues should know about! Got an idea? Email the editor, Scott Douglas, with your ideas at editor@bcteal.org now!

Teaching during a pandemic can be very challenging, so let BC TEAL make professional development easier for you. All you need is a BC TEAL membership that provides you access to resources, connections and opportunities. Join or renew now at https://www.bcteal.org/register-now/