Delaware is leading the nation in preparing teachers through better and stricter education. A bill signed in 2013 by Delaware’s governor raised the criteria that aspiring Delaware teachers must meet. Basic requirements now include maintaining a 3.0 grade point average and completing a minimum 10-week classroom student teaching program. In Delaware, ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers are referred to as ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teachers.
Becoming an ESOL teacher in Delaware involves earning an Initial License and Standard Certificate. The Standard Certificate is issued to qualified ESOL teachers in grades K-12. If you want to become an ESOL teacher in Delaware, follow these steps:
|Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Preparation Program|
|Pass Basic and Subject Matter Tests|
|Apply for Your Delaware Teaching License and ESOL Certificate|
|Maintain and Upgrade Your Delaware Teaching License|
Step 1. Complete a Delaware ESOL Teaching Degree Program Including Student Teaching Experience
Your first step along the pathway to becoming an ESOL teacher in Delaware is to complete an approved bachelor degree program. The degree program you choose must meet the following four conditions set forth by the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE):
- The four-year college or university that hosts the program is regionally accredited (a list of regional accreditation agencies accepted by the DDOE is here)
- The program is accredited by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) or by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
- The program is an initial educator program yielding a certificate at its conclusion (usually bachelor degree programs qualify)
- Is a program in which Delaware offers teacher certification
Your bachelor’s degree may be in elementary education, secondary education or within an area such as English, linguistics or communications. Regardless of the major of the degree you choose, the DDOE requires that you complete 15 credits in professional development in the following course areas prior to receiving your initial certificate as an ESOL teacher:
- Structure of the English Language – 3 credits
- Second Language Testing – 3 credits
- Teaching Literacy for English Language Learners – 3 credits
- Second Language Acquisition – 3 credits
- Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language -3 credits
Student Teaching Experience
Student teaching is a mandatory part of your ESOL teaching degree program. It may last for one semester or longer, depending upon your program’s requirements. You may work alongside a licensed Delaware teacher, who will act as your mentor. As you work in the classroom, your mentor will offer you valuable feedback on your performance.
If you already have 91 days of full-time classroom teaching experience, this satisfies Delaware’s student teaching requirement. Additionally, if you have participated in the Teach for America program, you have satisfied the student teaching requirement.
Alternative Certification Pathways
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in a critical-needs area (of which ESOL is one), and pass the Praxis I tests (see below), you may qualify for the DDOE’s alternative certification pathway.
This will involve professional development courses at an approved institution. This program will usually be shorter and more intensive than traditional ESOL teacher training. At the end of the program, you will qualify for a Standard Teaching License and Certificate in ESOL in Delaware. More information on this program can be found in Step 3.
Step 2. Pass the ESOL Teacher Testing Requirements
When you are seeking your initial teaching license in Delaware, you must pass basic and subject matter tests, administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS).
The basic tests, also known as the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST), consist of the following:
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading
Delaware may give you an exemption from taking the Praxis I tests if you previously received these scores on the following assessments:
- Core Battery Communication Skills Test
- Writing – 670
- Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
- Before April 1995 – 480 Verbal and 520 Math
- After April 1995 – 560 Verbal and 540 Math
- GRE Revised General Test
- 152 Verbal and 145 Quantitative
- GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
- 490 Verbal and 490 Quantitative
Subject Matter Testing
Because no Praxis II subject matter examination is offered for ESOL certification, the Delaware Department of Education requires that, instead, you pass the following two tests to become an ESOL teacher in Delaware:
- American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)– this consists of a 20 minute face-to-face (or face-to-computer, if you choose the computer-based test) interactive interview to test your abilities and skills. DDOE requires that you score at least at the Advanced Low level.
- ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT)– this is a standardized test to measure your functional writing ability. DDOE requires that you score at least at the Advanced Low level.
Step 3. Apply for Your Delaware Teaching License and ESOL Certificate
Once you have fulfilled the above qualifications, you are ready to apply for your Initial License and Standard Teaching Certificate in ESOL in Delaware. Applications are accepted online through the DDOE:
- If you just graduated or soon will graduate from an approved teaching program, use this application
- If you already hold a teaching license in another state and are applying for Delaware licensure, use this application
- If you have a bachelor degree but no student teaching experience and plan to complete Delaware’s alternative teaching certification program, use this application
You will be asked to submit documentation to the DDOE along with your application, such as official transcripts, copies of any out-of-state teaching licenses, and the like. Once the DDOE has received your online application and all necessary documents, they will be assessed. The DDOE will send your Initial License and Standard Certificate to you by email, or will let you know if they need further documentation.
Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your Delaware Teaching License
Your Initial License as a Delaware teacher is valid for three years. You will be expected to complete an in-house mentoring program during this time. You and your mentor will work on instruction, curriculum and assessment and will report your activities to the state.
Once you have completed three years of the teaching and the mentoring program, you may apply for a Continuing License, which is valid for five years. Its renewal is contingent on your completion of 90 hours of professional development during its five- year lifespan. You must document these activities and submit them when you renew your license.
Your Standard ESOL certificate will remain valid and does not need to be renewed. You may apply for additional teaching certifications in Delaware as long as your teacher’s license is valid. This simply involves passing the applicable Praxis II subject level examinations and completion of 15 professional development hours in that subject area.
Think about pursuing a Master’s degree. Some Delaware institutions offer Masters Degrees in various ESL-related majors, such as TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), or Reading/ESOL Literacy. Receiving a graduate degree can also help you pursue an Advanced Teaching License in Delaware.