In my last newsletter I offered to answer questions via my blog. Here’s the first one I received. I also sent a direct reply to the person concerned.

QUESTION

Dear Denise
I have been going round in circles not know where to find the answer to this question. Can I try it on you?
I have been working as a School Administrator for many years. 3 years ago I started using my languages (Portuguese and French) with “Minority Group Support Services” in NAME OF TOWN. I have enjoyed accompanying newly-arrived children of any age from 5 to 16. I often end up teaching them English too. It has made me long to work more with children or students but MGSS can only employ me on a casual basis.
Is it possible to get a job if I up-grade my training by doing a TESOL course too? In other words – do schools employ people to help foreign children with their English or do they rely on normal teachers or teaching assistants. I don’t mind becoming a teaching assistant if that is the only way to work in secondary schools with a permanent contract. I am 57 and do not want to launch into being a fully-trained teacher at this age.
Many thanks for any clues.

ANSWER

It varies. Some schools with large numbers of children who speak English as an additional language employ teachers and/ or EAL coordinators. Others have specialist TAs and some use general TAs. TESOL qualifications are more geared towards teaching general English in post 16 and adult settings rather than language for learning in schools. There are no specific teacher training routes into becoming a specialist EAL teacher.
You say you do not want to launch into becoming a fully-trained teacher so becoming a TA and developing your knowledge and expertise in this area may be your best course of action. CEA @ Islington have developed some good online courses. I would also recommend reading ‘Learning to Learn in a Second Language’ by Pauline Gibbons.
My answer is via Alice.

FOLLOW UP
Many thanks indeed for this Denise, it’s very helpful. I will look at the website and the book that Alice recommends.
Thanks for being so prompt with your replies too.
All the very best

Published On: February 27th, 2012 / Categories: Career Coaching /

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