Why you should get involved with your local teaching association

I started this post months ago and, given that I’m currently off work preparing for a minor little hospital procedure, I thought I might as well finish it! It’s also the kind of blog post that really belongs on my old blog, Berlingo, since it’s directed more at teachers, but since I finished my teaching blog with a farewell post, I’m posting this here instead!

I recently attended two out of the five days of the IATEFL Annual Conference, where I learnt that there are over 100 IATEFL affiliate organisations around the world. On a recent reminisce about my time in Berlin (as it was around this time last year I finished my CELTA and started teaching) I ended up thinking about ELTABB, the IATEFL Associate organisation in Berlin, and reflecting on all the opportunities I got out of that. I thought that listing them here might encourage more teachers to get involved with their equivalent of ELTABB, to really enrich their teaching experience and develop themselves professionally.

  • Through some chance encounters and lucky conversations (most of which initially took place on Twitter!), I was offered the opportunity to Tweet for ELTABB, as the Twitter feed had been neglected for the previous six years. It took a lot of determination to track down the person who had set up the @eltabb account but we managed it and I took control of the account, tweeting about our events and retweeting useful articles, teaching tips and comments from other accounts. This was good experience in social media management, and where I learnt to make the most out of Tweetdeck – a tool I recommend for any semi-serious Twitter users.
  • I attended many workshops and seminars organised by the wonderful Events Coordinator Mandy Welfare, one of which I wrote up on my old blog, Berlingo.
    In writing such summaries, I was able to practice my summary-writing skills and, I suppose, on a slightly more ruthless professional level, ‘put myself out there’ because my summary also appeared on the ELTABB members-only area, so people who would never stumble upon my  blog would end up reading my posts.
  • I got my first ever teaching job through the ELTABB Facebook page, which I found when I was still finishing my CELTA. It was a three-week cover for someone who was on holiday, and it was a mixed adult group of complete beginners, A2 and B1 students, so it was certainly a challenge! My blog posts about what this experience taught me are here on my old blog.
  • I took part in my first ever Lesson Jam, which was organised by the Lesson Jam pioneer, the lovely Tom Heaven. I posted about this, too, and have since seen Tom extend the idea all around the world, as well as taking his concept to IATEFL for a second year running.
  • Almost most importantly of all, I made some great friends! The people I was lucky enough to be on the committee with (even though my role wasn’t a key one to the organisation, I still attended a few meetings) became firm friends, and it was lovely to bump into a few of them in Birmingham at IATEFL earlier in April.

What do you think? Are you a member of your local teaching organisation? If not, why not?


6 thoughts on “Why you should get involved with your local teaching association

  1. I also like the local meetings and events because the other members are teaching in a context quite comparable to my own, so we can exchange experiences and ideas that are almost instantly applicable to my own work.
    That’s not to say that this doesn’t happen at bigger conferences, and I wouldn’t replace, for example IATEFL, with a local organisation, but it’s a lot easier to get to local events and network a bit closer to home, so I’d definitely recommend joining a local ELT organisation or group!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Clare! I’m glad you agree 🙂 I think Germany is especially good at this, and I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your Meetup plans! You have also reminded me of one point to add to the list above – as ELTABB led me to get involved with MaWSiG!
      Thanks again for stopping by,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been a member of my local association (TEA: Teachers of English in Austria) since it began some 25 years ago, am a member of ETAI and just attended their conference as well as numerous conferences of other TAs. I think the combination of local associations and international ones such as IATEFL or TESOL gives teachers the opportunity for PD which deals with situations and realities close to home while an international association can be used for global networking (helpful when attending conferences away from home) and a broad perspective on our profession. I am very glad to have had the chance to experience so many different associations and meet members from around the world and am looking forward to my next chances to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Marjorie – I’m honoured 🙂
      It’s good to hear that the associations in Austria are as active as they are in neighbouring Germany.
      You have actually also reminded me that joining ELTABB led to my joining MaWSIG, which I think certainly needs to be on the list!


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