TESOL Thoughts

Reflections on Teaching and Learning

Inspired by Andy Curtis

By Victor Tam

Choosing my one “TESOL moment” is challenging because there were so many – from some of the amazing workshops and keynotes to meeting some of the inspiring presenters, speakers, and participants.  Besides that, there was the joy in connecting with old friends we met at last year’s TESOL Conference!  But if I had to select just one, it would be listening to TESOL President Andy Curtis’ keynote address.  I so deeply appreciated the way he framed the work we are doing in education.  He reminded us that, “All of what we do is political.”  In a politically charged world, our jobs do matter and all of what we do makes a difference.  President Curtis went so far as to say that,  “We are changing the world for the better.  We are saving lives!”

This reminded me of a quote from Ed Brubaker,
“Whatever you do, remember that. You’re going to make a difference. A lot of times it won’t be huge, it won’t be visible even. But it will matter just the same. Don’t do it for praise or money, that’s what I want to tell you. Do it because it needs to be done. Do it to make your world better.”


Our work in education can feel arduous and unending.  Too often, it is easy to feel unappreciated or, worse yet, blamed for the students performing below standard.  But what we do – each and every day – whether we believe it or not, does matter.  We need to stay positive and continue to make good choices for ourselves, for our students, and for our profession!  Our job as educators is BIG because we are collectively changing the world.  And whether it is apparent to us or not, I, too, believe we are saving lives out there!  THANK YOU, President Curtis!


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