Here are what some members have said they want from a professional association and how VicTESOL can benefit you:
"Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with meeting day to day teaching deadlines that I lose touch with the bigger picture. I need colleagues and networks to help bring a sense of perspective to my role as a professional."
"Teaching language and culture is in many ways a political role. We are helping to empower learners to walk taller in their new community. I like to know there are people in this job who bring a range of considered viewpoints to the job. A professional association is an avenue to making connections, holding debates, and stimulating ideas beyond my immediate workplace, which I know pretty well already."
"I didn't join the TESOL profession to be 'client focussed' and pursue the 'profit motive' but I find that this is now a daily reality. I try hard to look at the broad spectrum of language learning and teaching as a profession with a real creative heart. I need encouragement from others to do that and I like the fact that VicTESOL brings together people who have creative instincts."
"There's been a growing sense of isolation amongst TAFEs and other adult providers with the onset of competitive tendering and shrinking commonwealth funding. Yet there are so many new things to come to grips with: competency based learning, flexible delivery, new technologies and the like. I think that feeling is largely generated by management though. Teachers are as committed as ever to sharing ideas and encouraging colleagues across workplaces. A professional association, by definition, should connect professionals and cross boundaries. We need that more than ever."
"I want to know what's hot and what's not. I really appreciate the newsletters, in particular the reviews of TESOL materials."
"I'd like to see some special interest networks start up - perhaps VicTESOL could be instrumental in that."
"I want to get a sense of what's happening 'out there' and that's on a number of levels: practical classroom level, new innovations, political directions and I want to keep up with the acronyms (as best I can)."
"I came from another state and VicTESOL really helped me to find my feet in Victorian TESOL. I get different things out of it now and I don't have as much time to follow things up, having a family and working a reduced time fraction. I find the newsletter is extremely important: it helps me keep in touch with resources and what's happening in other sectors. In TAFE we need to know what's happening in the secondary sector and amongst other TESOL providers. I like to know that there is a resource I can tap into."
"The ACTA conferences and the fact that they move around has been great as I've kept in touch with colleagues from previous workplaces and keep a sense of the broad brush picture."
"Well there's the union I suppose, but they have a wide brief and not everyone can relate to that. As teachers with a specific focus, we have our own issues and we need a voice. I think you've got to be in it."