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Teaching in a K-12 Public School, Spanish Preferred

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LuketheDuke LuketheDuke is offline
 
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LuketheDuke
 
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Teaching in a K-12 Public School, Spanish Preferred
Old 09-29-2016, 06:23 PM
 
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I am currently in graduate school for a master's in the Teaching of English as a Second Language. My graduate program is a traditional route certification program to where on completion I will earn an initial teaching license for K-12 certification.

I have been told several times that one doesn't need to be fluent in a second language in order to be a successful ESL teacher, and many of my professors aren't fluent in another language themselves. ESL teaching should be viewed as different from bilingual teaching. But, I am seeing a lot of public school job posts for multicultural ESL classroom teachers with "Bilingual Spanish preferred."

My initial problem with that is giving preferential treatment to Spanish students by providing additional translation support goes against the fundamental principles of ESL discourse. My Spanish is basic, and even if I were fluent, I would prefer to not speak in Spanish into an ESL classroom as long as the class was open to other ELL students. Spanish is the most abundant primary language of ELLs and it's expected that if one plans to teach domestically, the majority of their students could be Spanish speakers. But what about the students in the classroom who aren't Latino, even if there are a small minority? Let's say for example, there are fifteen students in an ESL classroom, 10 of those speak Spanish, and maybe you have three Chinese, one Russian and one from Pakistan. According to the job listing, the administrators are only concerned with whether or not you can provide additional language support to the Spanish students, and all of the other L2s are sorta left in the dark can because you the teacher can't possibly be expected to speak all those other languages. But since Spanish is the second most spoken language in the US, it seems like we are expected to have some understanding of Spanish over other foreign languages.

So for those of you who are familiar with ESL hiring practices in US public schools, maybe you can shed some light on this issue.

Again, I am well aware that ESL teachers don't have to be fluent in Spanish, but is it just one of those unfortunate realities that public school administrator will have a tendency to hire bilingual ESL teachers over non-bilingual just so they can get more bang for their buck?

Also, does it depend on region and who is in the applicant pool? For example , if one is competing for jobs with other ESL certificated teachers, are the ones who are bilingual are more likely to be hired?


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Tiamat Tiamat is offline
 
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Not in the USA
Old 09-30-2016, 04:45 AM
 
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so I can't speak to hiring practices, but I do believe that ESL and bilingual are two different things. If you only see ESL as Spanish speaking students, then you aren't open to ESL students from other backgrounds. For some (many?) schools, this would be fine, but it can backfire if you get an unexpected enrolment with a different first language. I've seen teachers post on this board with a "What do I do? I can't speak this child's language." so it definitely happens.

For me, the idea of fluency in my students' first language is laughable. I currently have students on my caseload whose first language might be:

Samoan
Tongan
Cook Island Maori
New Zealand Maori
Fijian
Hindu
Gujarati
Punjabi
Bengali
Farsi
Pashto
Urdu
Turkish
Tagalog
Ilikano

Bilingual will not work in that situation.

So, I guess I'm saying - it depends and is almost certainly region-specific.
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Betty4567 Betty4567 is offline
 
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Dual Language Teacher Here.....
Old 09-30-2016, 07:24 PM
 
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Hi,

I'm certified as a bilingual and ESL teacher in south Texas. In my district you can't/won't get hired with just an ESL certification because we offer Spanish "dual language instruction." Our district also requires us to pass a yearly test to become TELPAS raters and we have to be GT certified.

I would seriously do some research on the job outlooks for someone with your background. (We got rid of ESL in the grade book and follow a dual language model.) I was forced into becoming a dual language teacher this year and I'm appreciating that the students will bi-literate.

I get paid extra because I have a bilingual certification and I also have a Masters. (I also do UIL coaching and regular tutoring so they really get a lot of bang for the buck with me....)

Are you planning on teaching in a population that has a lot of students with different languages?
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MissESL MissESL is offline
 
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Old 10-01-2016, 03:42 AM
 
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In Illinois, most positions are labeled with a preferred language, and that language usually reflects the majority language.
Not only that, but the positions usually include translating services as part of the job description. To do translating, you need to know the second language. Or more.

There are places, especially in the Chicagoland area, that do NOT want their teachers to be bilingual, because their district represent so many languages or to avoid giving any student (and by default, teacher) preference or advantage.

I don't think it is that big of a deal. The right job will come along for you in the meantime. And, districts can be as specific as they want in hiring, as long as the hiree has the correct certs. I feel that saying they should not ask or require the EL teachers they hire to bilingual is like asking them not to ask that for "language arts endorsed" or "math and science endorsed" teachers, either! Every job has specifications to suit the needs of the employer, that's all.
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:07 AM
 
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Here you might see that same wording in a job ad. You wouldn't be expected to use Spanish in teaching. The reason it is preferred here is so that you can contact parents.

The majority of my school's ESL population speaks Spanish, but we also have a significant number of students who have exited ESL but whose parents don't speak English. So I am often asked to make parent phone calls or interpret at meetings.


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LuketheDuke LuketheDuke is offline
 
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:54 AM
 
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Thanks for your post Betty.

First off, what is GT certified?

I remember years ago I went in for an interview in at a school in Pearland (Houston area) and the first question the principal asked me was, "Do you speak Spanish?" At the time, I was on a temporary certification, but that's another story. Now I live in the Philly area. So maybe it's safe to say that Philadelphia is more culturally diverse that South Texas. I would love to stay in this area, but I am willing to go where I can find a job.

I'd say my Spanish is basic, and I am currently taking private lessons to improve for my own benefit.
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Zia Zia is offline
 
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Old 10-15-2016, 05:32 AM
 
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Quote:
First off, what is GT certified?
Gifted & Talented.

I'm TESOL and not bilingual. My students rarely speak Spanish. The majority speak Urdu, Gujarati, Vietnamese, German, Farsi, Navajo, and Russian. So, being fluent in Spanish was not a factor in hiring me. Spanish is not terribly beneficial in my situation, despite the fact I teach in New Mexico.

It always cracks me up when co-workers hear I have a kid without a word of English and offer to help because s/he is fluent in Spanish. Sure, give that a go with my Urdu kid!

I suppose it depends on where you live and the population of the district.
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