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Advice sought on my plan regarding the Bilingual Cert...

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Joined: 19 Oct 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:52 am    Post subject: Advice sought on my plan regarding the Bilingual Cert... Reply with quote

I taught one year as a full time public school teacher in Texas and then one year as a substitute teacher. Both years were in the Austin area. Now I have the opportunity to spend the next nine months in Guatemala studying Spanish. I currently speak a high intermediate level Spanish, but this is far from professional fluency. I'm confident that a 9 month intensive course should be enough for me to pass the bilingual cert exam. Even still, I'm sure that my Spanish will not be beautiful or perfect.

I hope this will improve my job options. What do you think? Currently the elementary teaching jobs in the Austin area are pretty competitive. I got a job, but not a choice of jobs. I ended up in a very poor school with behavior problems that I couldn't handle. I then spent a year subbing to see what other schools in the area are like. I found that the kids' behavior varies dramatically from really horrible (like the ones I had) to schools in the suburbs where the kids are angels in comparison. Those jobs are really hard to get though and most teachers "pay their dues" in the less desirable schools. I found that the lower income neighborhood schools that mostly have brand new Spanish speaking immigrant kids have pretty well behaved kids.

Apparently demand for bilingual speakers is high enough that many of the "bilingual" teachers who work in those schools have been brought over from Mexico and though they are well educated and speak perfect Spanish, their English is very poor. I was shocked to discover how many teachers there are in these schools that can't really speak English.

Common sense tells me that I would be a good candidate for these jobs. My Spanish may not be perfect, but if I speak well enough to pass the cert exam, surely the principal would prefer me (fluent English, pretty good Spanish) to a "bilingual" teacher who can't speak English. But I've also learned that there is very little common sense in public schools in Texas.

So what would you do in this situation? What are your experiences? Thoughts? Would you go to Guatemala for the year? I think learning the language will be beneficial for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with teaching, but my primary motivation is to have a wider variety of job options in order to work at a school with better behaved kids. I'm just being honest.

By the way, my current certification is reading and elementary generalist with an ESL endorsement. Before I taught public school, I taught private school for several years as an ESL and reading teacher. So if I get the Spanish cert I am qualified to teach in a multilingual environment.
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Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3030
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again! Just to say that I replied here:
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