Last week I was in Toronto for TOSCON15. I decided that I should attend more conferences this year and this was the perfect one for a number of reasons that I explain later in more detail.
I also gave a talk about one-to-one teaching, the first I give away from home.
In 2013 I had to travel to the USA for business and visiting Canada seemed to be a good idea for a short vacation. I may have been influenced by a friend who had lived in Toronto and by the TV series Being Erica (I was obsessed with that show). My chosen destination was Vancouver, though. Needless to say, I fell in love with the city and the country. There is something about Canada that I don’t think I can translate into words, as cheesy as that may sound. People are so helpful and welcoming. It’s the kind of place where strangers call you a cab if you ask for directions on how to find one. Canadians are the kind of people who will come to you and ask if you need help when you are holding a map, puzzled trying to figure out your way. All this may be ordinary to you, my fellow Canadian who’s reading this, but it isn’t to me and I want you to know that I do not take these acts of kindness for granted and really appreciate them.
Back to 2013, when I came back after a great time in Vancouver I was curious to connect with other teachers from Canada. I searched for teaching associations in Vancouver, but couldn’t find any in the quick search I made on Google. Then I found Tyson Seburn, which is odd, because he’s based in Toronto. I saw his blog on Facebook and noticed two people from my PLN had ‘liked’ the page. Interesting, I thought.
Tyson is the president of TESL Toronto and last year I saw some posts about TOSCON14 and I felt like going. A seed had been planted.
I was really impressed with the quality of this conference. Having been to many and once involved in the organization of a small conference when I was in university, I can only imagine how hard the TESL Toronto Board had to work to put everything together.
Food is not a reason why people go to conferences, but the gala dinner on day 1 and lunch on day 2 were superb. Many opportunities to network. It was the first time I’ve been to a conference that I didn’t know anyone. The first five minutes are bit uncomfortable, but Canadians are so warm it doesn’t take much to strike up a conversation.
I attended some great talks and a workshop. My initial idea was to take some notes to write summaries, but I got quickly involved with the talks and didn’t take detailed notes. Besides, you will be able to see the slides from the presentations you are interest in as they become available. Stay tuned on their Facebook page.
If you are curious about the sessions, you can see the full program here.
I hope you enjoy the interviews and that this post encourages you to go to the conference next year.