I have known about NATECLA since my early days of teaching in the UK, when I first started working I had a vague awareness that my colleague was on the local committee, NATECLA news and a copy of Language Issues was usually to be found in the office and each year someone from the department went to the national conference, but it was only about 3 years ago that I became a member myself.
Initially my involvement with NATECLA was centered on attending local conferences, I recall attending a Saturday morning event at Bradford College and another at Forster Community College. Next was a Friday afternoon event at the Bradford Media Museum, and as this was the same time as the DTELLS class we went as a class and it was good to see other colleagues there as well as a couple of my CELTA trainees. At the following event at Calderdale College I ran a workshop on using blogs and it was probably at this event that I became more conscious of who the members of the committee were. I think it was here that I was asked if I would be interested in joining the committee.
I went to my first national conference in Warwick in July 2011and thoroughly enjoyed spending a weekend with the vast array of interesting people that is ESOL teachers. In September 2011 I attended my first committee meeting of the Y & H branch where I became involved in organising the next regional conference, which was held at the Galpharm Stadium in Huddersfield in March 2012. I was thoroughly impressed with the experience, commitment and dedication of the volunteer committee members, and was honoured to be voted as Chair of the branch at the AGM at this event, as the current Chair moved to become C0-Chair on the national Management Council.
In July 2012 I attended my second national conference, where I ran a workshop on Social Media, Mobile Technology and CPD. The college were fortunate to have some funds available so many of my colleagues also attended and it was an excellent weekend of workshops, networking and socialising. The sessions on the Reflect Approach were particularly inspirng and definately had a direct impact on the E1 ESOL class I taught this year.
Benefits of membership include a monthly newsletter, three issues of NATECLA news and a reduced subscription to the Language Issues journal as well as reduced fee to regional and national conference. Of all the publications that drop into my inbox, I always make a conscious effort to read NATECLA news and find a good mixture of updates regarding funding, changes in policy and teaching and learning.
Being a member of Management Council I am also proud to know about the hard work of all the members in responding to national policy change, this year’s focus has been on the changes to teacher education, FE funding cuts and immigration issues. I wonder how much of this activity ESOL teachers are awareness of,
2013 is going to be a big year for the Y & H branch as the national conference will be held in Sheffield, and as hosting branch we will be a part of making a success of the conference. Being a committee member certainly gives a different perspective on a professional body.