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Career Story: Teacher Of English As A Foreign Language

Teacher Of English As A Foreign Language

Job Title: English Language Learner Teacher/Coordinator

Type of Company: I work in a school district just outside of Boston.

Education: BA, French, Merrimack College •• MA, TESL, Framingham State College

Previous Experience: I started my career as a French and Spanish teacher. Due to a decreased foreign language enrollment and an increased English language learner enrollment, I re-tracked.

Job Tasks: My job as an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher is to help identify, assess and plan instruction for English language learners. It is my responsibility to help students learn content material that is all in English. In order to help non-English speakers learn in English, I use a variety of techniques, including visuals, pre-teaching vocabulary, small group instruction and modified texts. I work closely with content teachers to help them make accommodations to their classroom instruction. I also offer after-school training for classroom teachers. I help students acculturate by teaching them about a new language and culture.

An important part of my job is to act as an advocate for my students by helping ensure that proper modifications are being made to the mainstream curriculum. In addition to being an advocate, I act as a liaison with the parents to try to involve them in their child's learning. At times, I help parents with their own education by helping them find English classes.

It is very rewarding working with English language learners. Typically, I work with students for more than a year, so I am able to witness their growth. It is very difficult to come to a new country. My job is to help make the process easier!

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is when students succeed in the mainstream. When my help allows them to earn good grades, I am happy.

The worst part of the job is being at two schools and not having enough time to spend with beginning English speakers. I also feel sorry when my students are not welcomed to their new country.

Job Tips: My first piece of advice is to understand the process of language acquisition, so you know what to expect when students learn a language.

My second piece of advice is to get a Master's degree in the field so that you will have a background in linguistics, teaching techniques and the role that culture plays in learning.

My final piece of advice is to try to involve foreign students in school and community life.

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