Given the important role of ESL teachers in preparing their students to access mainstream curricula, the New Hampshire Board of Education Bureau of Credentialing has strict standards for new ESL teachers. Here are the steps you need to take to become an ESL teacher in New Hampshire:
|Earn a TESOL Degree and Complete a Teacher Prep Program|
|Pass the Praxis II ESL Exam|
|Complete Your Teaching Requirements and Electronic Portfolio|
|Keep Up with ESL Professional Developments and Renew Your New Hampshire License|
According to the New Hampshire Department of Education, more than 4,900 English Language Learners (ELLs) are currently being educated in the state. While the state recognizes the vital importance of ELL education, New Hampshire had a critical shortage of English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers going in to the 2014-15 school year.
In addition to teaching at the K-12 level, ESL teachers have a number of other options including teaching adults. In addition to being in demand in schools and businesses throughout the world, one ESL teacher job description featured in an open job posting was for a position in the Federal Prison System in Berlin.
Having teachers with diverse backgrounds and broad based ESL training is particularly important in New Hampshire, since the state’s English Language Learners spoke 136 different languages as of 2014. The most common among these were Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese.
Step 1. Earn a TESOL Teaching Degree and Complete a Teacher Prep Program
Since ESL teaching is considered a content area, you can get your initial license as an ESL teacher.
You can also add an additional TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) certificate to your existing license if you teach in another content area.
The state of New Hampshire has precise standards for what you need to learn to be an ESL teacher in section 507.17 of its rules on education:
- Understand the major theories and research relating to:
- The structure and acquisition of language
- The role of culture in instruction
- Be able to understand and use evidence-based strategies and practices to:
- Plan standards-based ESOL and content instruction
- Implement and manage instruction
- Understand various assessment issues that affect ELLs including:
- Accommodations in formal testing situations
- Language proficiency
- Special education testing
- Be knowledgeable about the history, research, and education public policy of these issues:
- Evolution of laws and policies that affect U.S. linguistic minorities
- The need to collaborate with staff and teachers to provide appropriate educational opportunities for ELLs in school
- The importance of keeping ELL families informed about resources in the school and community
Three of New Hampshire’s approved teacher education programs will provide you with this knowledge through rigorous coursework. While New Hampshire defines an ESL teaching degree as ESOL (English for speakers of other languages), it is equivalent to the TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) designation used throughout most of the world.
Additional Certification for New Hampshire Teachers
If you already have a New Hampshire teacher’s license, you can add ESOL certification to it at one school in the state.
Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, but it is not in education, you can take part in two programs to obtain ESL teacher licensure. One of these programs is known as the Teacher Education Conversion Program. In it, you can take the follow courses to learn both pedagogy and the specifics of teaching ESL:
- Cross-cultural education: professional learning community
- Curriculum & design and assessment in ESOL
- Foundations of education
- Introduction to exceptionalities
- Instructional technology
- Introduction to linguistics
- Legal issues in education
- Language, reading, and literacy in ESOL
- Supporting students with challenging behavior
Step 2. Pass the Praxis II ESL Exam
Once you have completed all of your education and ESL coursework, you will have to pass the Praxis II ESL exam before you can start the next step in your education: student teaching. This is exam 5361. A significant portion of the exam includes listening to recorded ELL speech and identifying errors in it. You will also be tested on these areas:
- Linguistic theory
- Language and culture
- Second-language learning
- Knowledge of tests and standards
- Appropriate use of tests
- Interpreting and applying assessment results
- Cultural understanding
- Legal and ethical issues
- Role of the ESL teacher
- Professional development
Step 3. Complete Your Teaching Requirements and Electronic Portfolio
After you have passed the Praxis II ESL content exam, you need to get extensive supervised teaching experience. New Hampshire requires a minimum of 360 documented hours.
Since your certification is for K-12, you need to spend at least 10 hours working with each of these types of students to ensure that you are qualified to teach ESOL at every grade level:
For your ESOL minor, you will complete five semesters of clinical experiences. You will take one course that involves 30 hours of participating in a classroom. Then, you will take a course on Inclusion, Equity and Diversity. This is followed by supervised student teaching.
You will start in a Bridge Experience for one semester and will spend at least six visits equaling ten hours. For the next semester, you will be a full time student teacher for 13-15 weeks. You will teach each grade level in a variety of school settings ranging from parochial to urban.
As part of the Teacher Conversion Program, you will take either 12 credits of supervised student teaching or 7 credits of a practicum. Both of these have a component of materials and methods in ESOL education.
In all of New Hampshire’s ESOL programs, your final step will be completing your teaching portfolio to demonstrate that you have mastered the techniques of ESL teaching. You must then get it approved by the education faculty.
Step 4. Keep Up with ESL Professional Developments and Renew Your New Hampshire License
Now that you are a licensed ESL teacher, you will want to stay abreast of developments in the field. The New Hampshire Department of Education has a number of ESOL resources online.
Another way to do this is to join NNETESOL—the Northern New England Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Its annual conference offers professional development hours and the opportunity to engage with other ESL speakers. It also offers professional training that is specific to ESL standards in New Hampshire.
Your first step in renewing your license is to get a recommendation from your Superintendent. This will be done online, and you renew your license online or with a paper certification.