Are there any teachers of English as a Second Language here?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by silkworm, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. silkworm

    silkworm New Member

    Jun 12, 2007
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    Jun 12, 2007

    I posted this question in Special Ed as well, but it's kind of dead over there.
    I have taught ESL to adults for two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, and English as a Foriegn Language to kids in Taiwan and Japan for a year and a half. I would like to teach ESL in the US, and I was wondering what the job market is like in regards to the primary and secondary level. In my state (Washington) ESL is listed among Special Ed, Math and Science as an area where teachers are in demand.
    I plan to get a Masters in Teaching with endorsements in English Language Arts and ESL. I would like to teach in secondary school, but I don't know what ESL looks like in a secondary setting in the US. I've heard that it can become a situation where I would be helping students with their classwork for other subjects, more like a tutor. If there are any ESL teachers at the secondary level, I would love to hear what your teaching environment is like.
    Most ESL classes for adults use only English when teaching, is this the case in secondary school as well? I know some expressions in Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese, but nothing extensive, will that hurt my job prospects? Looking forward to hearing from any other ESL teachers.
  3. TESOL_is_fun

    TESOL_is_fun Rookie

    Jul 9, 2005
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    Jun 12, 2007

    I currently teach language arts and ESL at a middle school, but I was primarily hired for my knowledge of ELs. I know that my M.S. in TESOL and my desire to teach ELs helped distinguish me in the hiring process from other candidates who were more of the "willing to teach ELs" category. Being the only ESL teacher at my school has also given me extra job security...basically, there have to be ESL services offered (I'm in CA).

    That being said, expect a very different experience from teaching abroad or teaching adults. The secondary-level ESL classroom in the U.S. will totally vary depending on your student population. Does the district have a transient population with many recent arrivals? In that case, be prepared for students with no English background or perhaps even limited formal schooling background. One of my first challenges as an ESL teacher was a 16 year old boy who had the equivalent of a 1st grade education. Re: knowing the language of your students, it certainly helps when teaching low beginners, but it shouldn't hurt your job prospects.

    My district has a fairly stable immigrant population, so most of the students in my ESL classes have actually been in the school district since kindergarten. They're like native speakers in speaking and listening, but they're below grade level in reading/writing. Most of them will probably never get the standardized test scores/grades to be reclassified as English proficient. The ESL curriculum we have isn't really suited for them, so I basically teach them a sheltered version of the regular Lang Arts curriculum. Teaching "Generation 1.5" students is a totally different challenge. I'm contemplating adding a tutoring/study skills class next year, though, as quite a few of these students have general learning/organization problems and not a language problem.

    I would advise you to observe as many ESL classes in as many different schools and districts as you can next fall. You'll probably find a huge variety of approaches and environments, and that could give you a better idea of what the job possibilities are like. Feel free to message me with any more questions...good luck!
  4. MsPlace

    MsPlace Rookie

    Sep 8, 2006
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    Jun 13, 2007

    I teach high school ESL in Oregon. I teach classes divided by proficiency levels in my own classroom. The state is very clear that my curriculum cannot duplicate language arts and that language arts must be taught by a language arts teacher (who is trained to work with English language learners).

    In class tutoring in my school is done by highly qualified bilingual paraprofessionals. They not only work in classrooms, but they also work in the afterschool tutoring program. Many assistants in my district (including myself) have gone on to become licensed teachers. I would recommend that you investigate the possibility of working as an assistant to see how you would like the job.

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