How to become bilingual?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by itseemstome, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. itseemstome

    itseemstome Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2007

    I'm looking for a position in North Texas and I'm so frustrated because I know if I was bilingual I'd probably be hired in a heartbeat.

    Does anyone in the area know a fast way to learn and become certified?

    Or, do schools give special consideration to someone who is willing to become bilingual during the first year of teaching? Would it be helpful to put it in my cover letter somewhere?

    I've wanted to learn Spanish for a while now, but there's only so much a girl can do at a time. If I knew I was going to make it with this teaching thing I'd have no problem taking Spanish classes. But w/out that certainty, I can't say it would be worth the money/time...
     
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  3. lotusblossom

    lotusblossom Companion

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    I have no advice for you, other than I feel your pain. Esp. because I have an "ethnic" sounding name and then they find out I'm not fluent... it is very deflating :-(
     
  4. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    a fast way to become bilingual??? That just sounds crazy.... you can't really learn it fast, you have to know the language and use it to become fluent.
     
  5. weno88

    weno88 Companion

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    Well... I wish there was a fast way to become bilingual! :) I've been studying Spanish for 8 years now, and I still don't like to call myself fluent.
    As far as certification goes, you have to take the Texas Oral Proficiency Test (TOPT), and the appropriate bilingual supplement test. I don't know anything about the bilingual exam, but the TOPT is pretty tough.
     
  6. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    You might consider English as a Second Language Programs to be certified as an ESL teacher. This is different than bilingual education because you are not learning a different language, but learning how to communicate with students who speak a different language than you do (ie. gestures, body language, etc...). You could also take spanish classes to help since you are in Texas, but it is a longer process.
     
  7. meatball77

    meatball77 Comrade

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    Join the army, they have fantastic language programs.

    However, they'd probably teach you arabic. . . . .

    There is no way to quickly become bilingual.
     
  8. usfmeghi

    usfmeghi Companion

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    Can't become bilingual fast..

    it takes a long time...

    Best way is to go to another country, live their a year, immerse yourself... You get forced to use the language,
     
  9. itseemstome

    itseemstome Rookie

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    Hmmm....maybe it does sound crazy to become "bilingual fast", but I feel like I could learn enough in the course of a school year to know how to speak it. Maybe I just feel this way because I have a propensity for picking up on other languages. Living in the Dallas area I think it would be very easy to immerse myself.

    Ugh. There are so many things I wish I'd taken when I was in undergrad that would have really helped me in the real world....
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think the reason they want bilingual teachers is because they need a population of teachers really fluent in the language. It's not just a paper requirement; they need teachers who can SPEAK Spanish.

    Even if you could learn enough to technically pass the requirement, I'm guessing you would have a real problem the first time you had a parent interview with a parent who spoke no English and who assumed that you spoke Spanish.
     
  11. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    I would go for ESL. What about special education?
     
  12. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Here they are not only looking for Spanish but Arabic, Gujarti (spelling), Chineese- Mandarin, Russian, etc.... We're a melting pot, a secluded melting pot...

    I wish I would have kept up with Spanish when I was little, but unfortunately I didn't.

    So it goes...

    In my first few years teaching early childhood, the kids have always picked up on English fast. It has been communication with the parents. However in the upper elementary grades (3-8) it becomes more difficult for the kids to pick up on English. Our PK, K, 1 kids always do relatively well.
     
  13. weno88

    weno88 Companion

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    Having a knack for learning languages is definately an advantage. Depending on the classes you take and the amount of time you spend practicing you might be conversational in a year, but it won't be enough to pass the TOPT much less teach in Spanish. :( Sorry. Then again if it were easy there wouldn't be such a need for bilingual teachers.
    I would start with ESL certification as others have suggested and work toward eventually getting the bilingual.
     
  14. usfmeghi

    usfmeghi Companion

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    Jun 16, 2007


    Gujarati...I'm bilingual in that just can't read or write it.

    I know how you feel.. I've been tyying to become bilingual for a while and have a knack for languages too and while I can have a basic convo with a paret and communicate a bit in community andwith kids, I am by no means fluents and would ever say I'm fluent as there are a lot of times I struggle with vocab, etc.
     
  15. Texas_06

    Texas_06 Rookie

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    I took the Spanish TOPT and its not that difficult. I know many people who have passed it and don't consider themselves fluent in Spanish. I bought the Spanish TOPT study guide at amazon.com. You also have to pass the bilingual TExES exam. I think its important that we get more bilingual teachers who are fluent in English. A lot of Spanish bilingual teachers I know can't speak English very well.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 13, 2007

    I think they say it takes around 12 years for a person to become fluent in a language other than their native one. There is no fast way to become fluent or bilingual.

    In my district we can take a course called Reality Spanish for our professional development credit requirement. It's basically what it sounds like--basic/intermediate Spanish designed to help English-speaking teachers communicate more effectively with Spanish-speaking students and their parents. You might look into whether a similar course is offered by a local university or community college.

    As for being more marketable, I recommend considering the ESL route. TESOL/ESL/ESOL is a demanding program, but it can absolutely help get your foot in the door in many districts in the Southwest.
     
  17. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2007

    After reading through these posts, I agree with many of you. Here's my take on the subject:

    1) There is no "instant" way to become bilingual
    2) Immersion is the only way to really "learn" another language proficiently enough to participate well in general conversation. Best friend is fluent in French, German, Spanish, and has taught these languages as well. But, she was immersed (lived in Europe for a while as a teen), has the "gift" and practices constantly, esp. Spanish, which she uses in her school job (psychomitrist). Niece teaches French, but studied all through HS, was in the Navy's Language PRogram (also learned 2-3 non-Indo European languages), majored in French in college, and goes to France every summer to "practice" with the natives.
    3) ESL may be the best choice teaching wise -- many districts that have a large population of non-English speakers need ESL teachers
    4) Keep practicing, practicing, practicing. If you live in an area with a lot of Spanish speakers (North Texas, right?), you could be in luck. However, if your area is like mine (and I know it is because I grew up in N. Texas), then you may want to get "instant immersion" in a few innovative ways: midnight trips to Wal-Mart, work in a factory for a while, etc. No kidding, I've learned more colloquial Spanish in Wal-Mart and at school. Oh, and maybe check out a literacy center. You could volunteer to teach English to second language learners and pick up some phrases to get you started, learn dialect, etc. (do a "trade off"). The volunteering could also look real good on a resume.
    5) Rosetta Stone?

    Just suggestions.
     
  18. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 13, 2007

    I live in South Texas and I am nearly fluent but still struggle with speaking Spanish in a professional setting like teaching. I've had teaching positions where I am required to teach part of the time in Spanish and I HATED it. In addition to the rigors of teaching it was even more stress to deal with. Not only stress, but time I didn't have and a confidence breaker. I'm a fantastic teacher, but creating lessons and materials in Spanish made me need to water down my ideas.

    It may take longer to find a non-bilingual job, but in the end, you'll have a job you are well-suited for and well-prepared for. Have you considered upper grades? There are far more non-bilingual positions in those levels.

    Good luck. I totally understand your frustration.
     

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