La Maestra Bilingue

Posts Tagged ‘english as a second language

Bilingual teachers have most of the same difficulties that all teachers share, yet they have more problems that other teachers do not have to face.  Probably the most difficult issue that exists is the lack of high quality resources that are readily available.  Textbook companies are getting much better at providing for the bilingual classes, but most teachers pull activities and lessons from a wide variety of resources.  Sometimes, it’s possible to do a quick translation of an activity and make it work, but more often than not, the translation takes quite a bit of preparation.  Even assuming that the translations are quick and easy, that still adds quite a burden to the bilingual teacher’s planning.  Another issue bilingual teachers face is creating a workable schedule.  They have the same amount of time each day that all other teachers have, yet they are expected to cover the same material, with the same rigor AND fit in a time for ESL.  In my experience, this created quite a juggling act between which lessons could be done in English to facilitate the language learning and not have the students have academic struggles.  One way that I helped fulfill the ESL requirements was to give most basic classroom instructions in English (put your books away, get out your folder, etc).  Even though that was mostly listening comprehension, it was still very simple to assess which students were understanding the instructions. As the year progressed, I gave more and more of the classroom instructions in English as well as including many of the “personal” conversations with the children.  This was not a very formal way to include language learning, but it was one way that I could make sure that the students were being constantly exposed.  I realize that this creates a bit of “code-switching”, but in my experience it didn’t seem to cause the children any issues.  Besides they loved it when I caught myself speaking in the “wrong” language.  I can’t count the times they reminded me, “English, miss, English”.  I’d just laugh and repeat everything in the other language.  Bilingual teachers are also faced with an extra dose of paperwork that has to be completed.  Every state and/or school district has its own requirements, so I can’t speak to all of the different requirements.  However, I know that in my case, I had to conduct several assessments in both languages and fill out several pages of paperwork for each child.  Perhaps the most frustrating situation is when no one recognizes the extra challenges these teachers face.  What difficulties do you face as a bilingual teacher that the other teachers don’t have to deal with?


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