ESOL Jobs in Alaska

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

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ESOL Jobs in Alaska

Postby Johncn » Thu May 14, 2015 5:39 am

From another thread, Larksong posted:

I really haven't chosen a single location or area that I'd like to end up. I'm also certified in English, 7-12, which seems the credential most in demand in village schools. Among those I hold, anyway. I've found the ATP search function to be quite clunky. For example, I searched for the term "English Language" and got 309 results, most of which had nothing to do with English. Yet when I tried ELL, I got 7 results, only some of which were for English Language Learners.

For finding ESOL jobs in the ATP Applitrack database, if you use Category and then Sub-category, you can search much more effectively. An example would be the grade level range (Elementary or High School) and then the ELL subcategory.


However, there is no standard naming convention for these jobs in Alaska. More importantly, as Bushteachers says, the demand for pure ELL / ESL / ESOL / LEP (or whatever this year's trendy acronym may be) jobs is very low in Alaska. There really are only a few jobs posted that are looking for ESOL teacher certification. It's more common in the urban areas than in rural Alaska, due to the mix of ethnic migrants there. Anchorage frequently has those jobs, but that district is laying off teachers due to sate budget cuts. The results for ELL jobs that I see as of today are mostly posted in Anchorage. There may be others around the state that were already filled, but probably not many.

This does not mean that rural districts do not value ESL experience. Districts do look for and value this sort of experience, as many more of our students in rural Alaska come to school with "other language influences" from exposure to Alaska Native languages in the community and/or home than come into school actually learning English as a second language. The current term for this mostly widely used in Alaska is "Limited English Proficient" (LEP), and there is a rating scale. The more traditional / isolated the community in rural Alaska, the more likely there is to be a significant need for teachers in all subject areas (Elementary, English, Math, Social Studies, Special Ed, etc.) with experience working with students who adjusting to language differences. Students who live in bilingual or "LEP" settings benefit from teachers who have experience teaching "standard English" in a non-judgmental way. My wife and I also had experience overseas teaching ESOL before coming to Alaska., and it was something that we drew upon throughout our careers. Be aware, though, that districts will (usually) only recognize ESOL experience from overseas for salary schedule placement if that job required a teaching certificate.

My B.S. and M.Ed. are both in SPED, so I don't foresee a problem there. Except I don't want a SPED job! My endorsements in ESOL, English, and Italian all come from having coursework equivalent to a major. I think that earns HQ status as well, but it varies state to state. In Illinois, I am only a couple of hours from endorsements in Visual Art and Social Science (Psychology), including taking the exams in those areas. I think that's why I really like the idea of teaching in a small school--getting to use all the skills I have and all the knowledge I've accumulated!

You sound from this description like a good candidate for a "Generalist" position. I think you said in that thread that you are certified in English as well, but not the grade level. As the other poster in this thread indicated, Generalist jobs are very common in Alaska, and usually require someone with broad experience and the ability to teach in multiple subject areas. Whether you want a Special Education job or not, assuming you have your university's "institutional recommendation" for having completed a training program in Special Education (and student taught in that subject along with your B.S. and M.Ed. work), districts will notice this in your background. Rural and remote districts who want to hire you for a "Generalist" (or almost any teaching job on a small staff) are going to see your Special Ed certification, and probably want you to have some IEP responsibilities. That doesn't mean that you'd be in an actual SpEd job per se, but a Generalist who has Alaska certification in both English and Special Education, and can can therefore manage a small number of IEPs for students in his or her classroom, would be highly desired in small, rural schools. Have some other certifications and/or coursework in diverse subject areas? Great, those would also add to your Generalist appeal for sure.

Alaska EED does not have its own set of teaching endorsement categories and ranges for those who are coming in as certified teachers. They "mirror" whatever the state credential you come in with has in terms of subject area and grade level, and use the "institutional recommendation form" filled out by the dean or department chair at the university where you did your pre-service training courses as the basis. The status of being "highly qualified" or obtaining endorsements through taking exams only is a very tricky thing...some say it's more alchemy than chemistry. ;-) You'd need to consult with Alaska EED to get a better sense of options there.

Sondra Meredith and her staff do a great job communicating by email for folks in your situation.

Alaska Teacher Certification

Her live chat a couple weeks ago covered "Teacher Certification Q & A" as the topic, and is archived on the ATP main website under "Live Chats".

Sondra Meredith - Teacher Certification Q & A

In addition, Alaska leaves the actual subjects taught for a certified teacher up to the DISTRICT itself. This means that you can be a certified English and/or Special Education teacher, for example, but function as a Generalist and cover all the subjects in a small school. You could end up teaching everything in High School at some locations...from soup to nuts. ;-) Being a Generalist is actually (in my opinion) one of the most satisfying and endlessly interesting jobs an educator can have in my opinion.

Hope this helps.


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Re: ESOL Jobs in Alaska

Postby larksong » Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:20 am

Thanks, John, for all the info! I agree that a Generalist position seems like a perfect match for me. It also sounds like a lot of fun! I've spent the weeks between my original post and now doing all kinds of research, and feel confident that Alaska will be my new home. Now I have to convince someone doing the hiring of that! ;)

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Re: ESOL Jobs in Alaska

Postby marymatt718 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 10:48 am

Hello Larksong,

I wholeheartedly agree with johncn on a Generalist position. I am in a school large enough that I am able to teach one subject, but I do often envy my friend who teaches 6th grade. She has so many great opportunities to show her kids how integrated all the subjects really are, and while having to teach Reading Mastery every day drives her crazy, being able to have her kids write a science fiction story for both science and language arts is a great payoff for her efforts. I can't do anything like that unless the LA teacher and I can coordinate our subject schedules, and that is heavily influenced by our district trying to keep all of our schools aligned, no matter the size, for the less than 1 % of our students who sometimes move about from school to school. (In case you can't tell, there was a bit of snark in that last statement.)

I do get to teach several variations of my subject, but because ours is a good-sized school, I end up teaching several classes of the same variation each day, and teaching the same lesson for 3 periods in a row can get really tedious. The beginning of the year, when I have to teach lab safety and the scientific method to all classes all day, is maddening!! It's easy, but sooooooo mind-numbing by the end of the day. I can only watch and discuss "The Chemistry Games" so many 7th period I just want to scream!

Good luck to you!
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