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Immigration Prompts Need To Teach English As Second Language In L.A.

As the number of enrolling elementary school students continues to increase over the coming decade, employment opportunities for teachers will also rise, according to the government. Now that California is comprised mostly of Latinos, a need to offer English as a second language (ESL) has become more prevalent than ever. This is why bilingual instructors should have the best job prospects, especially in Los Angeles.

"I teach in a transitional bilingual education program, which utilizes Spanish as the primary language to help students transition to English by third grade," said Silvia Rubalcava, a teacher at Gratts Learning Academy for Young Scholars.

(Photo Courtesy of Silvia Rubalcava)

What qualifies you to teach in this program?

"My Bilingual, Cross-Cultural, Language and Academic Development teaching credential allows me to engage in two languages and at least two cultures. In addition, I'm a national board-certified teacher who specializes in English as a new language. Through my ongoing professional development, I've participated in district training sessions to better instruct English language learners."

What defines an accomplished ESL teacher?

"An effective ESL teacher is one who gives students multiple opportunities to engage in the English language with their peers and provides pupils with the skills needed to be proficient in spoken and written English."

How will ESL programs further develop in L.A.?

"According to Hilda Maldonado, executive director of Multilingual Multicultural Education, our vision is that by 2025, we expect our ESL students to leave our schools as bilingual, bi-literate and even multilingual. Within this vision, she said, is the belief that all students will eventually embrace dual or multi-language learning."

How should teachers prepare for ESL programs?

"The best way to prepare is by understanding how language and literacy are acquired and learn techniques that will engage, challenge and provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge they'll need to be successful, English-speaking individuals."

What is your message to fellow ESL instructors?

"I encourage ESL teachers to be mindful of the fact that students bring a wealth of knowledge, languages and experiences into the classroom. Therefore, build on their strengths, talents and interests, and personalize instruction to meet their needs."

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

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