• pile of books with glasses and an apple  
     Teaching English Language Learners
     I have wanted to be an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher since I was in the 6th grade. I was very fortunate as a child who had the opportunity to travel internationally with my family. Specifically in the 6th grade, my family took a vacation to Mexico, and I was fascinated by the culture and the language. I had just started learning Spanish and it was my first authentic opportunity to use it, and I was in awe of the way other people encouraged me and supported my struggling Spanish skills. I fell in love with the people, along with the culture and the language. My appreciation for other cultures and languages had always been growing, but this trip was a turning point in my life. As someone that always dreamed of being a teacher, my dream job went from becoming a 2nd grade teacher, to becoming an ESOL teacher. I love the role that I am privileged to have in the lives of the students that I teach, and it is confirmed every day that I have chosen the right career.
    Author Lynne T. Diaz-Rico writes, "Teachers today are challenged to prepare all students to succeed in life, including those learners who enter schools speaking a language other than English. Schools and school systems must ensure that all students have access to an excellent education. Part of the repertoire of the contemporary teacher is a set of English-teaching strategies to reach those students whose English proficiency is emergent." I believe that this quotation begins to discuss the changing climate of schools in the United States. In a world that is constantly changing, the influx of both immigrants and refugees continues to grow, and teachers are faced with new students in their classes with little to no English language proficiency. It is the job of all teachers to immediately begin supporting these students, and it is the job of our schools and educational environment to welcome these students, and truly provide them with the excellent education that Lynne T. Diaz-Rico refers to in her quotation. This is the job of all teachers, and my job as an ESOL teacher is to support English language learning students, along with their teachers to create a school community that strives to support them in embracing the English language, and the way of life in the United States, while still appreciating and paying tribute to the languages and cultures that they come from. The students that I teach are intelligent, spirited, and admirable through all of the changes that they have experienced in their lives, and it is my honor to teach them. They have so much life, personality, and knowledge to express and it is my job to support them with the English language so that they can do so in their current environment, and then be successful in the United States. My students are amazing because they have such a wealth of knowledge, often including fluency in more than one language. I have such respect for my students, and know that I learn just as much, if not more, from them, than they learn from me in a given year. It is my job to be aware of the stages of language development and meet students where they are academically, while also attending to their stresses in life. My goal is for every student to be successful in all of their endeavors, and the English language is a tool that can support them as they continue their life in the world. All students have the potential to be successful, and it is my honor to support them both socially and academically.