An EL Teacher’s Perspective on Self (& Professional) Improvement
When we pour into ourselves, those around us benefit. This is why becoming the BEST version of yourself is an investment for not only YOU but all of those around you. Our students, families and colleagues deserve the best from us and so do we.
These ideas led me to think about how I will deliberately improve myself for the sake of the English learners, families, and colleagues I work with and here is my plan. I’m nudging you to think about your intentions also. What will you do in 2023?
Teachers of multilingual learners or English learners need many tools and supplies in their toolbox. And they may travel from class to class or even school to school. Here are a few of my own favorite classroom essentials.
The Stepping Stones that Led me here
Over the past few years, teachers often ask me how I went from a classroom teacher to an educational consultant and author. They are curious and many would like to follow the path. It’s no secret. I’m happy to share it with you. If you’re curious or perhaps have a similar desire, read on.
If you are new to teaching English learners or new to your role as an EL/ESL/ELD/ELL teacher, these are articles you may find useful.
I started teaching in the winter of 1997. Hired in a wonderful suburban district outside of Houston, Texas. The campus experienced a little growth and needed a teacher mid year, so I was the lucky one hired in December just as I received my college diploma and teaching certification.
My college pre-service classes taught me little about what the classroom experience would truly be like. And with wide-eyes I walked into my first classroom and found myself teaching third graders who had a myriad of needs I was ill prepared for. Some students needed special education support, others dyslexia, and some were learning English. I quickly found that the big white binder of curriculum didn’t hold the answers I needed to give these kids the support THEY needed.
If you know me, you KNOW I L.O.V.E. what I do. I've always loved it. No matter my role in education, I bloom where I'm planted. I think this is because (like many of you) education is not a job for me, it's a calling. I live and breathe it. It's not a 7-4 job. There are no hours that limit my time doing what I do.
But I have to be honest with you, the year I transitioned from a classroom teacher to an ESL teacher who pulled students out and co-taught, wasn't all roses. I struggled...a lot. So if this is your first or second year out of the mainstream classroom and working as an ESL specialist, pull out teacher or co-teacher, you may be able to relate.
Are you hoping to get hired as an ESL teacher or specialist? Take a look at the questions compiled below from colleagues and experienced ESL teachers that have been in your shoes.
Hopefully, these will begin to give you ideas about how you might answer questions that the interview committee could ask you.
6 Things you can do now!
First of all, WELCOME! We are glad to have you in our professional learning network. If you are reading this, I want to formally welcome you to a wonderful, passionate group of ESL educators and advocates who will support you along the way. In this article, you will find ideas for professional learning, resources to dig into, leaders in the field, and much more.
So you secured an ESL position. And you're wondering...how can I prepare for this job?