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Leaving Gen. Ed. for ESL/ELL?

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TeachingWithE TeachingWithE is offline
 
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TeachingWithE
 
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Leaving Gen. Ed. for ESL/ELL?
Old 11-25-2017, 05:16 PM
 
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Hi,

I will try to make this as short as possible! I hope that teachers from all avenues will be able to help me. Any advice would be helpful, and greatly appreciated.

I am in my 2nd year of teaching Gen. Ed. I am currently teaching 5th grade. I previously taught 2nd grade. I also student taught 1st grade, completed practicums in K and 8th, and I worked as a Paraprofessional for grades 5th-8th. To sum all of that up, I have an ample amount of experience in terms of grade levels and classroom settings. It is important to note that I am not certified in NJ (there was an issue with my GPA), and so I am seeking a Masters Degree program that will lead to certification in ESL or SPED.

Choosing the program is where I am having difficulty. I am seriously considering pursuing a Masters Degree in either ESL or SPED. My heart is truly in SPED, and I knew that I wanted to become a SPED teacher when I was in high school. HOWEVER, the endless paperwork, lack of support, and lack of control over placements (I would not want BD or MD), makes me lean more towards ESL. I am the daughter of an immigrant, and I speak Spanish, so language acquisition is very important to me. I think I would like ESL because of the small class/group sizes, less grading, and opportunity to really build meaningful relationships with each of my students. I LOVE gen. ed teaching, and I will miss setting my own class expectations, having class discussions, field trips, and all of the other things that come along with a large group and your own room... but I fear that my anxiety will worsen. There are times I am incredibly overwhelmed, and being that this is only my 2nd year, I am trying to prevent burn-out. I imagine having 20 kids in the class, and 2 or 3 of my own at home someday. Too much.

So, teachers out there... what would you suggest? Pursuing a Masters Degree with certification in ESL, or SPED?

Thank you all in advance!!!


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Tiamat Tiamat is offline
 
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Old 11-26-2017, 03:26 AM
 
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I am in the process of making the move from ESL back to general classroom teaching. I couldn't handle the stresses of ESL and haven't for a while.

While ESL does have the advantages you mention, it also has some disadvantages which need to be weighed (these might not all apply in all schools):

1. You are the absolute bottom of the totem pole. Your ESL program is expendable and will be collapsed on many occasions so you can cover absences of other teachers, or help with other, more important, programs, such as swimming. No, I'm not joking. I have not run my program for a full uninterrupted week since before Easter, and we haven't had three months summer holidays in there, either.
2. You may be expected to deliver your "program" in the corner of somebody else's classroom, with the rest of the class following the teacher's program. Of course, because you are there, you will also be expected to "help" some of their very low, but non-ESL students and will be constantly quizzed by the class teacher as to what you are doing and why aren't your non-English speaking students completing the class work (which is completely beyond their current language ability).
3. Where you are, would your students all be Spanish-speaking? Mine have up to 17 different home languages, from all over the world. I speak none of them but, because I'm the ESL teacher, parent communication is my job. "Can you just ring X's parents and tell them ...". Well, I don't speak Gujarati or Ilikano or any of the other languages any more than you do, they don't speak English and I can't always rustle up an interpreter, either. Of course, they also come with seventeen different cultural and educational backgrounds.
4. You may well not have a home base of your own (I have had years where I have had a full classroom - empty because I'm expected to push in - and other years where I haven't even had a place to put my bag, let alone resources and teaching materials, or teaching space).

You may still want to do this, but do please consider the disadvantages as well as the advantages. So much of how this job works depends on your principal and his/her attitude. I used to be passionate about language acquisition too, but I am now completely burnt out on the subject, and have fifteen more days in my current school. On January 29 I move to a new school which has exactly two children who are not native English speakers. And I am really looking forward to it.
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Elteacher...
 
 
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Esl teaching
Old 11-26-2017, 05:18 AM
 
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ESL is a ton of paperwork. Not as much as SPED, but a lot.

Some schools have ESL teachers doing pull-out, but many schools use an inclusion or co-teaching model.

A school that does not support its SPED teachers will not support its ESL teachers either. ESL teachers will be less supported because even though there are federal mandates, there is a lot more wiggle room in providing services. I have never heard of an ESL parent suing the district, yet I do hear of SPED parents suing.

I suggest you spend some time shadowing an ESL teacher.
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IN2OK
 
 
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It's Easy
Old 04-01-2018, 12:33 PM
 
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The Positives:

1. My district pays for professional development, and I have been told to milk it this year. I will have around $2,000 - $2,500 bonus.
2. I have zero to little discipline problems.
3. I only have 30 students, between 3 schools. It varies by school, some of my colleagues have 80 students.
4. The ESL certification test was pretty easy; I am waiting to see my test results.
5. The paperwork is a breeze.
6. I have a lot of support from my ESL department.
7. I am between 3 schools, so I miss out on a lot of the gossip and drama.
8. I share a classroom, and even supplies with my colleagues. I have spent only $25.00 (if that) on supplies this year.
9. It's a really easy job, and I work my contract times most days, once in a while I will be in the building 30 minutes after contract time.
10. I can meet the needs of my students, and not have to follow a script.

The Negatives

1. I am between 3 schools, so I am like a step-child sometimes. I can't be nominated for teacher of the year.
2. One of my schools has afterschool programs and they meet in my room, meaning I have to wrap up my work day before contract time.
3. My kids don't bring tamales and tacos. Ha! I love homemade Mexican food!
4. I don't have a specific curriculum, so I have to pull from a lot of resources.
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MissESL MissESL is online now
 
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Honesty
Old 04-01-2018, 05:04 PM
 
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Please do not do either of these endorsements unless you have a true to passion for these types of students. They need a strong advocate who is genuinely invested in their well being and success. It is not fair to them, or to you, if you donít do it for the right reasons.


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