I learned the basics of ESL instruction in my first CES Licensure course, Theory and Practice of Acquiring a Second Language. WIDA, SLIFE, Vygotsky, Comprehensible Input, ZPD, and many other words and acronyms that I had never even heard before came to life, both in theory and in practice. Prior to taking this course I had no experience with ESL. A dual English and Russian major in college, I came to the Collaborative to support student affairs for the aspiring educators who enroll in our licensure programs. But, as I sat in the CES Licensure office reviewing enrollment materials and listening to our ESL instructors discuss new initiatives and strategies, I realized how interested I was in those discussions. I wanted to enroll in the ESL licensure program.
At the end of my first semester as a student, I used knowledge gained through Theory and Practice of Acquiring a Second Language to take and pass the ESL MTEL and earn a Preliminary teaching license. This summer I have completed my seventh course through CES, including six licensure-specific courses for ESL teachers and one very enriching reading course from my Master’s plan of study. After more than three years working in the Licensure office, advising other teachers about credentialing questions while they advised me about teaching strategies, I have accepted my first job as an elementary ESL teacher for the 2016-2017 school year.
The inspiring and grounded instructors at CES prepared me for this, and the dedicated teachers who participate in our courses helped to prepare me, too. Not only has CES given me the content and practical application experiences that I needed to begin my new career, but they also helped me to build a strong network of fellow teachers and to familiarize myself with resources available to support me on my path. As I continue to take courses for my Master’s with CES and Fitchburg State, I look forward to reflecting on and sharing my own experiences as a new educator with peers. These courses provide a platform for both new and experienced teachers to learn from each other under the guidance of expert instructors who are deeply engaged in the work.
I can and will recommend the ESL licensure program at CES to anyone who may be interested in a career as an ESL teacher. You can learn more about it here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.