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So a few weeks ago, I got an email out of the blue, asking if I’d be a plenary speaker for SIT’s Sandanona Conference.

What’s that, you ask?

Yeah, I asked that too.

It’s a 3-day extravaganza in which all graduate students present on stuff that matters to them. It’s organized by the students and presented, free of charge, to the public. Though I didn’t see much public there.

I got invited because a few of the graduates to be saw me at NNETESOL, at MATSOL and at TESOL when I presented at those conferences. I’m trying to link to my blog posts about those conferences, because surely I must have talked about it, but I only blogged from TESOL. I gotta fix that…

And they saw me and they asked me to come! 


The group was small, thankful and oh so receptive. It was such a joy!

And their overlord (assistant professor supervisor guy) was a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from China 10! I was in the group China 5! What a small world!

Anyway, because Diane Larsen-Freeman is a former prof there who lives on campus, she also was a plenary speaker. (I can’t believe I’m in the same sentence with her! “Our plenary speakers are…” Mainly, this is because we both did it for free, or at least I did. But still!)

I talked about my journey to becoming an educator. And we laughed and I cried. It was beautiful.

Mostly, though, I’m excited to have had the chance to talk to people who really wanted to listen to whatever it was I had to say. One professor came up to me after and told me it was just the right message to wrap the conference up with. She said they needed to know how to reach out and broaden their professional profile.

I was mostly talking about following your passions and everlasting renewal so that you don’t shrivel up and die like teachers who get set in their ways. For it is only by following interests and offering a variety of new things that we might be able to reach that kid who is thinking about dropping out, or that we can keep ourselves interested enough to hang on, despite the politics.

So, thank you, SIT grads! I had an excellent time. And I hope some of you stay in touch!


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