Teaching ESL. I thought it meant just that.

But I can see that really, it does not.

It means teaching, but it also means being the one who translates documents at the last minute, is co-opted to be the leader of the Latino club, has to make calls to all the families for Back to school night or Parent conferences, arranges translators for the teachers who need them, deals with the matriculation of the kids from level to level and is in charge of their Woodcock Munoz scores, is the person who administers these tests and scores them and tracks the database for their exiting the program, and then has to figure out how to monitor them, and also needs to organize 3 parent nights for the year, volunteer for community liaison activities with the library, migrant program and other social programs for the kids (like 4H), deals with ELPA testing and their scores for that, and because none of that takes very much time you get 3 to 5 preps that change annually and you need to be okay with being the one who also teaches them PE, Art and Math because everyone else is afraid that when the kids speak Spanish, they are saying bad things about the teacher.

Is it any wonder there is a shortage of ESL teachers.

I look at these kids, and they are so smart, so sharp, so full of potential. And they will give back to our communities what we put into them. But the education they get is less than what their white peers are getting mainly because of fear. Teachers are afraid of them. They let the kids sit, not doing anything, where all the white kids are getting to work. They don’t get PE or Art and if they do, it is by a person who has no idea what they are doing. They don’t get to participate in all school activities. Their gym uniforms arrive months later than everyone else’s. They stretch the teachers to cover every aspect of their above and beyond needs, even though they get extra money from the state for their education. Where are all the people who can pour every last drop of themselves into these kids with no time or money to do so?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mrs. T says:

    Yep, yep and… yep. This is why I did not apply for the several ESL positions open in my district. It’s toooooo much work- glorious, satisfying work, but there are not enough hours in the day to do all of it. I like it when they have the ESL teacher explain things to kids whose native language is one that the teacher does not speak. It’s cuz we all speak “ESL”. We say things like “Tan- on your fingers? Not for boys.” I had to say this to one of my Vietnamese boys who kept painting his fingernails.

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