My name is Stephanie Lyas and I work with the Bessemer Library Adult ESOL program. Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the 2014 AMTESOL Conference in Oxford, MS. What a wonderful time of learning and sharing information! This was my first AMTESOL Conference, so I really didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that I would come away with something useful for my students, fellow ESOL teachers and myself. I looked at it as an adventure of sorts. And I’m always ready for an adventure!
The conference theme was “Between Worlds: Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners.” At first, that’s how I felt, between worlds—but I knew that I would leave with something of value—and I did. In fact, I got lots of tools that will make a huge difference in the lives of those I serve. I was eager to gather as much information as possible that I could use with my very special group of learners. Before long, I had taken page after page of notes of ideas and effective teaching tools that can easily be adapted to fit the needs of adults as well as children. Hooray! Mission accomplished!
Over the course of the two-day workshop I learned so much more than I expected. I learned that, even though our roles in the ESOL and Basic Literacy fields are quite unique, our common bond is the same –we care about our students. If I could sum up my feelings about the conference in one word it would be impactful. Not only did I make valuable, lasting connections and gain tools to help others be successful, I also learned a lot about myself. I challenged myself to answer the question that several people have asked me, “Why do you want to help English Language Learners?” I once heard someone say that if you want to be successful in life and live out your purpose you have to answer the important “why” question. So my “why” is because I genuinely care and have a desire to help others succeed.
I am convinced that is also why so many at The Literacy Council do what we do. Simply put: We care. We care about helping others be successful in achieving their goals. We care about making a difference in the lives of others. I left the conference excited for every student—young or old— who will benefit from the outstanding individuals who invest in the lives of their learners. In a way, the conference reinforced why it is truly more blessed to give than to receive. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to attend.
To read more about Stephanie’s continuing education experience, check out our Tutor Blog.
If you’re inspired by Stephanie’s story and would like join her as a TLC tutor, visit our Training Schedule page for more information, orientation dates and tutor training dates.