This was an important lesson I learned because what happened time and time again was my principal or director would tell me that I had X number of dollars to spend on multilingual learners (English learners) by tomorrow! Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much. I was like a deer in the headlights, my eyes big and wide. I mean, I wanted the money for my students but at THAT moment I could think of nothing. My brain was blank.
I should have learned the first time that this would happen again, but I didn’t. I thought it was a “once-in-a-teacher-time” occurrence and later realized I needed to keep a running wish list so I could get the good stuff.
Here’s the thing, not only did I need a list, but I also needed links, ISBNs, and ready-to-go paperwork for purchasing the things I wanted. As much as I could prepare ahead of time, I did.
What might you include in a wish list?
You can never have too many books for students. New books are always being published and books get old, worn and torn from use. I recommend ordering additional books or classroom sets for general ed teachers as well as for yourself as an ESL teacher. All students benefit from reading culturally diverse texts. Saddleback Publishing and Lee & Low are two that I have used and suggest. Also, examine the top 5-10 languages spoken at your campus/district and consider ordering books in those languages too.
2. Professional Resources
Books for yourself and for colleagues are expensive so keep an ongoing list of the ones you want and the ones you would like to have multiple copies of for the teachers on your campus. For example, when I was an ESL co-teacher at a campus it really helped to have at minimum one copy of 7 Steps to a Language-Rich, Interactive Classroom for each grade level. (By the way, this is a book I love and have used for years!). Ideally, I wanted one for each teacher, but initially, I purchased one for each grade level. Then at planning, we at least had the book to refer to. You can also take a look at the books I recommend here. I try to update it frequently.
I always wanted to attend PD but I could not afford the registration, sometimes the travel, and the hotel. But professional growth is never-ending and we have to invest in it if we want to continue to give students the best education. Keeping a list of the yearly conferences both local and national helped me get to some of these. I’ve always enjoyed going to NABE, TESOL, and What’s Working for ELs conferences.
Technology such as iPads, laptops, accessories, and apps was definitely on the list and changed from year to year because of the fast pace of tech updates. Keeping abreast of the changes with tech is challenging but also important if we aim to give ELs an edge in the classroom. Though many platforms offer free versions, the paid subscriptions are usually worth it and provide the linguistic accessibility features ELs need. There are so many to recommend and they always change. A high yield wish list item I suggest here would be ELLevation.
Bottom line: Keep a wish list with Multilingual learners at the heart. What will help you support their linguistic and academic success at school? Add it to the list. Then check it off!