It’s late in the afternoon and you’re still at school preparing your lessons. But before you can go home, you have to modify them for your English Language Learners (ELLs) so they can understand the material. With a sigh, you stare at your planbook and try to figure out how to teach your academic subject matter to students who are not yet fluent in English. All that’s left to do is:
* Consider how to explain the academic concepts using words that are easy to understand,
* Find a different book or rewrite the material yourself if doing a reading assignment,
* Revise the writing task and create a separate rubric to assess it,
* Choose which of the new content vocabulary words are the most important to learn,
* Decide which students would best help the ELLs when doing pair or small group work,
* Make sure the homework assignment can be done without the support of parents or guardians and that ELLs without Internet access can still do it (should the Internet be necessary), and/or
* Create a separate assessment that uses simpler language.
Help Is On The Way!
With 25 years of experience teaching English Language Learners, including 16 years at a public school in Massachusetts, I am passionate about helping English Language Learners find academic success. I’ve taught ELLs in Kindergarten through 8th grade but my favorite age group is middle school; that is, Grades 5 - 8. I’ve taught Social Studies, Writer’s Workshop, Math, and English Language Development in pull-out ESL classes and co-taught Language Arts, Math, and Science in mainstream classes that included ELLs. I’ve taught ELLs who were beginning to learn the English language as well as students at intermediate and advanced levels of proficiency who needed some extra support to be successful. I know how to help ELLs achieve success and I love helping regular education teachers help their ELLs.
More Information About Me
In addition to teaching my ESL classes in Massachusetts, I was a teacher trainer and a curriculum writer in my school district. I served on the statewide committees that wrote the ESL standards for Massachusetts and helped develop the annual test that all ELLs had to take (until MA joined the WIDA Consortium). I also presented at local, national, and international ESL conferences. I’ve written many articles for educational journals about teaching ELLs and for ten years, I published an online journal for ESL teacher trainers.
But I came into teaching sideways. Prior to becoming an ESL teacher, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, showing farmers how to grow rice in paddies. I spent two years in China, teaching graduate students and professors at a university there. Following that wonderful experience, I worked one year at a university in Borneo in Indonesia, helping develop the English language skills of English teachers and other professors. When my contract ended, I returned to the U.S. to obtain a second master's degree, this time in Teaching English as a Second Language. I subsequently got another job in China and was a teacher trainer at a different university for one and a half years, helping Chinese teachers of English improve their language skills and teaching practice.
Now I live in Arizona and am no longer a classroom teacher but through my TeachersPayTeachers store, The ESL Nexus, I am utilizing all my training and experience to create ELL-friendly resources for regular education teachers like yourself who have English Language Learners in their classes. If you’re ready to use academically rigorous, language proficiency-differentiated resources that your students will enjoy and that will save you time, click HERE!