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i ain't got no degree

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The K Dog

Joined: 27 Feb 2003
Posts: 24
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 1:46 pm    Post subject: i ain't got no degree Reply with quote

... in the subject matter which I would like to teach, so, I may have a few problems. I am a twenty-nine-year-old-American currently teaching EFL in Paris, France, who is fluent in both French and Spanish as a result of exposure and intense personal study, now, I am seriously considering returning to the States (destination unknown, preferably California, the southwest or Hawaii) to teach foreign languages at the high school level, but I am confused; is it necessary to have a degree in the subject matter you teach if you can display competency in that field? I have a BA in English Literature and an M.Ed in Postsecondary TESOL from the University of Nevada, but would prefer to teach Spanish and French as I find them far more stimulating intellectually, instruction in these subjects keeps me sharp in my foreign language skills, and it's far more interesting than teaching my native language at some community college in an adjunct's position. Do any of you know about the qualifications needed to be a foreign language teacher in various states? I have been told that there is an intense shortage of language teachers in America and a few other countries as well, so, I am curious about taking a new path in my life, plus I want some job security, i.e., not bouncing from one alien society to another year after year, having no pension plan accumulated and waking up in some Phnom Penh dive, hungover, pot-bellied, with a fourteen-year-old-concubine, late for work at the Mickey Mouse School of English, etc. Thanks for your help. By the way, does the land down under need anyone to teach European languages? I hear that their schools concentrate mainly on Japanese and Chinese and ignore French and Spanish. Just curious.
Peace out,
The K Dog
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Lucy Snow

Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 218
Location: US

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every state in the US has its own educational policies. I'd suggest contacting the Dept. of Education in the states that you're interested in, and see what they say. I've got a link stored somewhere on one of my email accounts--I'll look for it and PM it to you.
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Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 5:42 pm    Post subject: You're not going to like this... Reply with quote

K Dog:

Lucy made the key point so I'll just add a couple of side issues...

In the US, the states are in terrible financial straits. While they need teachers of all kinds, they can't afford to hire them. A friend of mine (whose situation is much like yours) spent months looking for work in California but got nowhere. Everywhere he went, he got some version of, "We'd love to hire you but there's simply no money for it."

Then there's the new federal "No Child Left Behind Act," which demands that states put qualified teachers in the classroom. The standards will still vary by state so it's worth a look but your chances may depend on who you're competing with.

For Hawaii, I think you may have trouble because of the Felix Consent Decree. Long story short--this court ruling mandates that schools must accomodate special needs children. Although we're in financial trouble too, the schools must hire special ed instructors to comply with the court order. My friends in the system say the priority list goes like this: Felix Decree teachers & staff, math/science, English, languages. Thank God you're not a music teacher--they're probably not even on the radar.

Sorry to sound so negative but it's not a good time to be a teacher in the US right now. I don't think it's impossible to get a job, just very difficult. Things seem especially bad in California but you might have better luck in other areas. Hopefully, people in other areas will post more optimistic information.

Then again, all of this applies to the public system. I'm not sure how flexible private schools are--certainly worth a look.

Best of luck,

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