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Making the Change to a Career in ESL- Advice please!

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Joined: 01 Jul 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:44 pm    Post subject: Making the Change to a Career in ESL- Advice please! Reply with quote

I am in my mid-twenties, with a Bachelor's degree in Finance and Marketing. After spending 4 years in the business world, I have decided that my true calling may be teaching- specifically, I am interested in teaching ESL/ELL. I am near fluent in Spanish (I studied abroad in Spain and took several Spanish college courses) and have always held a great passion for language. Before I make the leap and go back to school, I have a few concerns I am trying to sort out and would appreciate any perspective. I believe I would like to teach in a U.S. public school setting, but am not entirely sure as I have no teaching experience to date:

1) I am looking at getting my MA in Applied Linguistics, with a concentration in ESL (the program I am looking at also leads to initial teacher licensure and involved student teaching). My first question is whether U.S. school systems value this degree in terms of hiring candidates? I ask because I know a lot of teachers get their Master's in elementary or secondary education and add on an ESL certificate. Would the Master's with the intensive ESL focus be valued more highly in a school system if ESL is what I want to focus on full-time? Or, would I be harder to hire because of that specialty/specific expertise (given that many classroom teachers would have ESL certificates already)?

2) Given that pay scales in public school systems depend on degrees/ years in service, will it be detrimental for me not to have a Master's in Ed., will I need to get my Master's in Ed. at some point down the line to advance my career? (I assume a MA in TESOL/Applied Linguistics would not put you on the Master's pay scale at a public school).

3) Are ESL teachers in the U.S. public school system generally valued as much as classroom teachers, i.e., will I have job security and ability to achieve tenure as other teachers? I ask because I have heard of teachers unable to get a classroom teaching position (with a MA in Ed degree) but able to get an ESL teaching position in a school? I guess I'm wondering if a person who puts all their eggs in ESL is more disposable in terms of budget cuts, etc?

Cool What other types of teaching or non-teaching careers are those with Masters in Applied Linguistics/TESOL involved in out there? I want to make sure I have enough options once I invest in the degree. Also, should teaching not work out for me, I am curious what other ways I could use the degree in the U.S (potentially combining my business background even?)

5) If, after a few years teaching ESL, I decided I wanted to become a classroom teacher, how difficult would that transition be, given my undergrad is in business and I would have the MA in Applied Linguistics and teaching license? (Would I need to get my M.Ed to be a classroom teacher in the U.S., would it be easier to achieve since I was already teaching in some regard- i.e., I would assume I would not need to do the student teaching component?)

6) Any other advice/ recommendations towards pursing this career path would be greatly appreciated. I am very new to the field and have been trying to gather as much information as possible to be sure I make the right choices for my future career. Thanks so much!!
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Joined: 15 Jun 2010
Posts: 66
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good questions, which unfortunately I'm not able to answer. I think that a lot of English teachers on this forum are working abroad and have a different set of experiences.

I hope this bump up will allow someone qualified to answer.
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