5 Questions with an ESL Teacher

Ever wondered what an ESL teacher actually does? Or what resource she couldn't live without? Today I'm answering 5 Questions about my job!

To start the series, I'm answering my own questions!  First, a little bit about me: I'm in my 6th year of teaching, and my 5th teaching ESL.  I actually started my career teaching French, but quickly changed my specialty.  I have a Master's in teaching ESL, as well as a Master's in Administration.  I'm planning to become a supervisor or principal in the next two years.  I currently teach in Southern New Jersey, at a very small school with a pretty unique population of English Language Learners.  I blog here, and also have a TPT store.  

1. I start my day by checking emails and corresponding with administrators and classroom teachers about student issues, policies, and best practices.
2. I teach 4 pull-out classes, ranging from grades 1-5 and all levels of proficiency.  With some classes we follow-up or preview the skills from the basal series, and with others I focus on the specific skills my students need to work on.
3. I have a working lunch, during which I eat with one hand and type lesson plans/search Pinterest/answer emails with the other.
4. I teach 2 more classes, this time to students who have newly arrived to the US and really need some extra help.
5. I answer more emails about student issues, grading policies, standardized testing, or upcoming events, then I go home to get ready for the next day.

1. I love being able to work with diverse groups of students- all ages, all levels.
2. I love reading and researching about ESL in other parts of the country.
3. I love being there for the light-bulb moments, and the many "firsts."
4. I love that I loop, and have students for 3 or 4 years in a row- it's great for relationship building! 

1. Communicating with parents, due to the unique languages spoken in my district.
2. Teaching students who exhibit symptoms of PTSD, especially those who have come from war zones.
3. Knowing that sometimes the only time my students feel comfortable or have the chance to speak English is in my classroom.

1. Don't listen to the people who "preach but don't teach."  There are a lot of people who claim to be experts in second language acquisition, and they may be smart, but they don't teach your kids.  YOU teach your kids, so YOU know what resources or strategies work best for them. 

2. Don't get caught up in the latest teaching trends or fads from other states, or even other schools nearby.  Your population is unique, so make sure you are planning lessons that work specifically for them.

(I could keep going, but I will follow my own rules and stop here!)

1. I'm kicking myself for this question.  But seriously, if I had to teach on a deserted island, I would bring whiteboards and dry erase markers.  I use them all day every day in my classroom and could not live without them.  From math problems to vocabulary words to life cycles, you can teach anything with just a whiteboard and markers!

I hope that gives you a peek into my life as an ESL teacher! Still have questions? Leave them in the comments! I have a great line-up of teachers, administrators, and specialists coming up, so stay tuned!


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