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ESL MiniConference Letters from 2001

Send your note to Robb@ESLminiconf.net

Notes from MiniConference participants:

Dear Robert:
Please include me in the regular mailing list of English Miniconference. Thanks so much. A friend forwarded me your Web site and I have found it extremely useful and updated. Thanks for the wonderful work.
Frank Tang
Director, TESOL Program
New York University (NYU)

Dear Robb,
David PapierI always enjoy reading your conference news--it keeps me up with ESL happenings which otherwise would be completely out of my reach.
I'm teaching out in the boonies of Hunan, and I'm a star everywhere I go because I am the only foreigner in the region, not just in the immediate area. Most people around here have never seen a foreigner (round-eyes, they used to call us, and maybe still do).
Teaching here has been a good challenge for me. I have no textbook and there are no technological aids such as computers or VCRs nor Xerox facilities. I must make up each lesson from scratch, relying on my teaching experience and on pictures, flashcards, etc. This is good because the students look at me and try to participate, rather than looking down at some Xeroxed exercise on their desks.
The students are not good enough in English for us to have any kind of discussion in class, so I have to carry the class. If I were teaching more advanced or more sophisticated students, it would be harder to base an entire class on pictures or flashcards, but then I suppose discussions would be more possible.
I enjoy reading about doings around Riverdale. Your Thanksgiving meal with the students sounded memorable. And I really like Marion Belcher's idea of posting a poem on the board and having students run back and forth to transcribe it on paper. I love getting new ideas this way. I will definitely bookmark that idea for the future, though I can't possibly use it here because classes are 60+ and it would be utter chaos (and classrooms are so crowded that no one can move, anyway). But please tell Marion for me that it's a dynamite idea.
Best wishes to you and everyone for a happy holiday season.
Yours, David

Hi Robb!
Heather Gately I am in Monterrey, Mexico teaching 5th grade. The kids are wonderful although this is my first time with little ones. They definitely keep me on my toes.
I hope all is well. Enjoy the holidays.
Heather Gately

Hi Robb,
Martin Perl I just want to drop you a quick note to say hello and see how things are at ASPECT.
I have very fond memories of teaching at ASPECT this past summer. It was a great experience for me.
I attended the NYS TESOL conference in Rye, NY in October. I enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately I did not have an opportunity to attend your workshop "Creating a Conference-like Spirit Every Day." I read about it after the fact.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
Best regards,
Martin Perl

I read your report on the recent TESOL conference with interest. I'm glad you not only benefited from it, but helped plan it as well! Unfortunately, the only thing I was able to click onto was the report on creating a conference-like atmosphere--for some reason, Internet Explorer won't let me see anything else, not even your survey. Sorry. (Maybe it's the server?--I am in China now, teaching out in the countryside of Hunan province. Quite far removed from Manhattan College. It's a challenge because of limited resources and HUGE class sizes (60) but rewarding because the kids lap up English.) Anyway, continued best of luck to you and your program.

That's very interesting. I hope you disseminate it, or invite other attendees to visit the site.
Annette Burton
Program Book Editor, NYS TESOL 2001

Thank you Robb soo much for writing this. I really enjoyed the article. Your dedication to NYS TESOL is so appreciated by all of us.
Jee Wha Kim
Conference Chair, NYS TESOL 2001

Hi Robb.
In the flurry of registration (seems like I was behind that table non-stop!), I don't know if I got to thank you properly for the super name badges. They looked great! Thank you!
Also, thanks for making sure the membership/newcomers information was in the Addendum!
I just read your special website summary--a thoughtful commentary on the conference.
Til another time--
Anne Martin
Registration Co-Chair, NYS TESOL 2001
(President, NYS TESOL, 1999-2000)

Robb! The sight looks great! Thanks so much for putting it together. I hope all is running smoothly. It was a pleasure to work with you. Please keep in touch. Heather
PS- I might be headed off to Korea to teach 3rd grade.I should know more by Monday or Tuesday.

Congratulations, Robb! Your staff looks as if they were truly diverse in every way, able to give students a real slice of America as well as a great variety of real-world and academic experience. You must be exhausted but very pleased with what you accomplished. Thanks for sharing the pix with the listserv to answer the question "Who would want to work there?" Lots of good people, apparently.
Margaret A Scheirman

Good morning Robb,
Thank you for sending the updated info about teachers, etc. I myself am working on getting a teaching job in October in either Taiwan or China, but nothing definite yet that I like. My answer to your question: I realize in looking back that it had been quite a while since I had taught students older than high school who were demanding and wanted to be challenged (11 years, actually). It was like learning a little piece of ESL all over again, remembering how to shift gears, so to speak. My ASPECT experience reemphasized the need for a good teacher to be on the ball, to be flexible and to know his students well. This was a good lesson for me. I'm glad marks were high for the summer. Continued good luck to you and the program, Robb.

Dear Robb,
I am writing to give you a little update on my situation: I have received notice from an English school outside of Milan, Italy, and, if all goes well, I should be shipping out there by the end of September. Thanks again for the opportunity to be part of the Aspect team in July and August; I learned much and had a good time getting to know the staff and students. I hope summer is coming to a nice close for you, your family, and the Aspect team.
James Hart
P.S. The webpage with all of our pictures of the ESL mini-conference came out excellent! Thanks for putting it together.

Letters from 2002 Second Quarter

Letters from 2002 First Quarter