Volunteers’ Efforts Make Most Favorable Impression

Mar 19th, 2016 | By | Category: Conferences, Regional
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By JENNIE WATSON

Stipend awardee and volunteer Jennie Watson welcomes LA Regional participants.

Stipend awardee and volunteer Jennie Watson welcomes LA Regional participants.

—Conferences look different from the volunteer side. I have attended national, state, and regional conferences before, and I have been extremely impressed with the brilliance of the research and pedagogy of professionals and students in our field. For the CATESOL Los Angeles Regional Conference, I have also been awestruck by their dedication, organization, and vast talents. When I arrived early at the Cal Poly Pomona campus, before 6 a.m. in the morning of the conference on March 5, I found a group of student volunteers in the parking lot blowing up balloons and putting up signs to guide attendees to the campus and to the conference. I was then met by the conference chair and the conference treasurer, followed soon after by a flood of volunteers of seasoned and new instructors, graduate students, and undergraduate students who were all eager to make the conference a success.

(From left) CATESOL President Sydney Rice, stipend awardee Jennie Watson, and Education Foundation President Margaret Teske at the LA Regional

(From left) CATESOL President Sydney Rice, stipend awardee Jennie Watson, and Education Foundation President Margaret Teske at the LA Regional

Volunteers invited and organized publishers, set up poster sessions, kept technology working for presenters, and planned and organized food. Experienced instructors mentored and led discussions on topics such as “How much technology and social media should we integrate in classes?” and “How to teach and require peer review, revision, and editing.” They all problem-solved dozens of little issues to make everything flow smoothly. I have never been more proud to be a part of this field.

The highlight of the day, however, was the plenary speaker, who has been my professional hero since I first opened The Grammar Book as a graduate student: Dr. Marianne Celce-Murcia. To be in the presence of someone who has contributed so significantly to my understanding and my teaching was a powerful experience. The feeling was only slightly diminished when I didn’t win any of her signed books in the opportunity drawing.

I am deeply appreciative of the wide variety of contributions that are made in our organization of time, research, wisdom, and funding to attend these exemplary displays of our profession.

Jennie Watson is an adjunct English instructor at Cal Poly Pomona and Norco College.

 

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