“The future,” suggests Miriam Chesner Jersey , who’s also a Spanish teacher and an expert on South American culture, “is bright for ESL educators, particularly in the United States.”
With an estimated 10 percent of all students currently enrolled in U.S. public schools undergoing ESL—or English as a second language—education, demand for ESL teachers has never been higher. By these estimates, around five million students in any given academic year will be undergoing ESL studies. That’s according to Miriam Chesner Jersey, a New York University graduate who holds a Master’s degree in ESL.
As a nation, the U.S. boasts around 44 million non-native English speakers. This number which is roughly equivalent to 13 percent of the population. Less than two generations ago, this number was below 5 percent. “America is currently home to more immigrants than any other country on earth,” adds Chesner. This, the graduate explains, puts ESL qualifications among the most in-demand education specialties in the country. Not just in the school system.
While a significant number of those qualified in ESL will find work as teachers, either in public or private institutions, ESL qualifications boast many other applications according to Chesner. “These include working alongside both domestic and multinational companies, or within various international agencies or organizations,” she reveals. “Positions as researchers or advisors for publishing companies, for example, are often highly called for too.”
Other avenues regularly taken by those qualified in ESL include authoring textbooks and other teaching materials, as well as working in cultural mediation. “There’s also a strong demand,” adds Chesner, “for graduates in the translation business and within tourism and travel, the latter being a particular draw for many qualified in ESL.”
Herself focused predominantly on teaching, Chesner explains that those looking to teach specifically will generally undergo both practical and professional training. ESL studies will often concentrate on classroom situations, as well as the methodologies of teaching. “Many will also take further elective courses,” Chesner adds, “such as teaching specifically to children.”
Currently, many U.S. states impose various requirements upon those looking to become qualified ESL educators. According to Chesner, those looking to enter this area of teaching should check their state’s board of education’s requirements.
“Alternative paths to licensure often also exist,” she adds, wrapping up, “as do secondary endorsement options.”