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Please describe
Old 09-20-2018, 02:03 PM
 
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What ESL looks like in your school.

Some background: I teach at a small K-8 school. Iím a GenEd 3rd grade teacher. This is the 3rd year for our one and only ESL teacher. Her experience before my school was teaching foreign language at a high school level.

We tried push in originally but she become more of a general aide or wasnít helpful at all (wandering around the room not helping or being purposeful, even with encouragement to feel free to support the students). Last year she pulled out my students & I gave her Reading work that the class was doing. I offered to share my plans. Our schedules donít match so co-planning was not possible. However, she always seemed all over the place and it didnít seem like she had specific lessons or skills that she was working on with my students (it just looked like she pulled random stuff for the kids to work on)... unless I was very specific and literally handed her work. Next, my partner & I tried last year to meet and create a map to follow so that thereíd be some structure and we could all be on the same page in order to benefit our students.
EX: Monday-Vocab, Tues/Wed- comprehension skill, Thurs- spiral review of week, Fri- reading test.

Iím trying to have this year more streamlined and structured. I donít want to overstep my place - I respect her position. Iím at a loss on what to try or do next. Our prior ESL teacher came with a wealth of experience. Iíd give her weekly skills and sheíd mesh them & do her ESL ďmagicĒ. The last 2years just doesnít seem to be working.

So, what Iím asking is:
- What do ESL services look like in your school?
- Who creates the lessons and/or plans?
- If you do push-in, what does that look like?
- If you do pull-out, what does that look like?

TIA - Iíd really like to support this teacher and Iím feeling stuck.


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Old 09-21-2018, 06:20 AM
 
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My school (K-5) has a high percentage of bilingual qualified students, and a significant refugee and newcomer population. For that reason, our ESL program serves level 1 (monolingual or functionally monolingual) students during literacy block in a pull out model. There are 2 teachers and 3 paras that together work with 20-30 students at any one time. The teachers modify the core curriculum for "whole group" (though the largest grade level group has 10 students so it isn't huge) - they work with 2 of the 5 stories that the gen ed class uses in a unit and teach the comprehension skill and strategy with super significant language development strategies and scaffolding. The paras each have a focus area - one works on writing, one on oral language, and one monitors the computer program we use and pulls students 1:1 from there for phonics lessons. We have the benefit of many years of this kind of diversity in our school - lots of time to develop a program like this!, Title wide school funding + resources from our state, and a large ESL staff. Kids stay in the program until they are able to bridge to an intensive reading group - the time it takes varies a lot based on many factors.

Who creates the lessons? Our ESL teachers, using the stories, comp skill & strategy and end-of-unit performance task for each grade level.

Most of the other elementary schools in our district seem to have their ESL teacher do similar to what you are describing: ESL teacher pulls students from classroom or sits in the back and helps students with the classroom work.

I think that's really hard, because as it sounds like you recognize, your ESL teacher is a teacher. You should not need to provide lesson plans or materials for a teacher who is working as a specialist in this area. Your ESL teacher should be familiar with both the language proficiency (and needs) and reading proficiencies/skills of each of the students she sees. Do you think that's happening? Is there a building/admin goal for this position or program? Is it to help students succeed in their gen ed classroom with grade level work? Is it to focus on instructional level content for these students? That is where I would start with talking with this teacher depending on the answer.

Good luck to you! That is a hard one.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:13 AM
 
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Thank you - you gave me a lot to think about. Great suggestions. Thank you for sharing!!
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:02 AM
 
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I am an elementary school ESL teacher who formerly taught at the middle school level. While there, I was, doing push-in and, like you described, feeling a lot more like an aide than a teacher. Now I am a district which encourages push-in but allows pull-out instruction at the principals' discretion.

I teach only pull-out classes for ELLs of all levels. My school uses a reading program and I use the materials that go with it but, I absolutely plan my own lessons from start to finish. Now, because I'm using some of the same materials as the classroom teachers, I'll get the occasional, "We already did this," to which I respond, "Great! I'll bet you're going to impress me!"

The trickiest part for us is always scheduling. I have to schedule around lunch and recess and I try to schedule around specials (music, art, etc) but I can't schedule around everything that some classroom teachers would like. For instance, some teachers don't want me to pull their kids during writing but, there are only so many hours in a day so that might happen.

I hope this is helpful!
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Old 09-24-2018, 02:36 PM
 
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Thank you! This is very helpful.


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