This week I was to be in Toronto for the International TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Conference, where I was Chair of the Bilingual Education Interest Section. We celebrated our fabulous 40th Anniversary last year in Portland, with details and photos here.
As I arrived to board my plane, I learned three things about international travel:
1) Always check, check, and check again the expiration date on your passport well before any international flight, and most definitely before arriving at the ticket counter at 6:00 am to board your plane. As I checked in yesterday morning, I discovered that my passport expired since I last used to Puebla, Mexico. After the shock, I turned to pleading, considering offering my first-born (too expensive, college), and shameless begging. I learned that our airlines are fined $50,000 if they let someone through without a valid passport. I really don’t care, but apparently the airlines do.
2) Non-refundable tickets are truly non-refundable, despite multiple conversations with several people in the US and India.
3) One-day passport service centers are located in Denver and El Paso (six hours away), require an appointment, and it actually takes 2 days to receive your new passport. Note to self…
After a lifetime of international travel, one would think I would have already learned these things, and yet… Back to Santa Fe for me. The next 36 hours filled with emails and phone calls rapidly flying back and forth between colleagues, thankfully dear friends, in Toronto. In a display of professionalism and heart, the past Chair, Sandra Mercuri, and upcoming Chair, Sandra Musanti, created the structure for our meeting, gathered our tribe together, and kept the heartbeat of our organization beating soundly. In the midst of all, I learned that people had been denied travel if their passport was set to expire in the next six months. Check your passports!
At the conference, one of my presentations focused on research done for my chapter in Research on Preparing Inservice Teachers to Work Effectively with Emergent Bilinguals (Advances in Research on Teaching, Volume 24) edited by David and Yvonne Freeman, (Emerald Press). The focus of this text:
With the rapidly increasing number of English learners in schools, there is a critical need for teacher educators to prepare inservice teachers to support these emergent bilinguals with effective practices. Despite this need, there is a lack of research on how best to provide professional development for these teachers. In this book, teacher educators from institutions across the U.S. report their research on educating inservice teachers who teach emergent bilinguals in ESL, bilingual, and mainstream classes.
The chapter I contributed is titled, “Freedom Within Structure: Practices for Teacher Sustainability, Efficacy, and Emergent Bilingual Student Success.”
When the flurry of emails and phone calls to Toronto ebbed, the March Madness of birthdays in our family continued. The sun rose one morning and it was first Wyatt’s birthday and then mine. For the past several years, Mom and I have celebrated Wyatt’s, hers, and my birthdays at various cities around the US, as this is historically the week of TESOL. Mom and I packed balloons and crepe paper, along with our clothes and flash drives for presentations. Last year, I arrived back to our hotel to find crepe paper streaming from the door of our room.
This year, Noé surprised me with the necklace above, originally a pin we bought in the San Juan Islands last year, a pin he bought, as the Raven symbolizes “creativity and intelligence.” (My own not noticeably demonstrated this year regarding my passport, yet the pin inspires me none-the-less.) A pin I never wore, since it left holes in whatever blouse I wore. Unbeknownst to me, Noé worked with a jewelry-making friend, removed the back, bought a chain, and drilled a hole through the pin to create a pendant. We went to Wynn’s volleyball tournament and watched her block, spike, dig, and serve. She was on fire! A blessing to share the day with her.
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