Demand for ESL Teachers Continues to Grow in New Jersey School District

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Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd

The Hillsborough School District in Hillsborough, New Jersey is in the initial stages of hiring two additional English as a Second Language teachers for their schools in order to meet the growing demand presented by the recent influx of foreign language students. The students are in need of help with their English language skills and in this kind of situation the district would normally utilize the teachers that it has on hand and wait until the summer prior to the following school year to hire additional teachers. The decision to hire additional ESL teachers mid-year, however, stems from the unprecedented addition of more foreign language speaking students.

The expense associated with the additional hires is expected to come from unbudgeted funds in district coffers since the budget is determined on an annual basis and had already been set for the 2014-2015 school year. Education committee chairwoman Judith Haas made reference to a report from the district supervisor of world languages stating that the English Language Learners program in Hillsborough has growth of more than 50 additional students than it saw just three years ago. All grade level are affected by the increased demand but high school grades have seen the greatest influx of ESL students.

The ELL population in Hillsborough consists of 29 language representations with Spanish being the most predominant at about one-third of the students followed by Gujarati at 12 percent. Other languages that are represented include Telugu, Thai, Arabic, Hindi, Japanese, Lithuanian, Hebrew, Greek, Malayalam, Tamil, Ukrainian, Akan, Cantonese, French, Polish, and Hungarian, among others. As a result of the increasing numbers of ESL students that the district has seen over the last few years, it is expected that the demand for qualified ESL teachers will also increase, with salaries averaging around $54,000 per year.