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Global Education

Teaching ESL in the United States

Francisco Zapata, ESL teacher

Describe your cultural adjustment process. In what ways was it different than you expected?

Adjusting was not as difficult as expected. Life is what you make of it; things come easily when you have an open mind and are willing to make some compromises.

What has your experience been like in the US classroom?

Most people think being an ESL teacher is a hard thing to do. You need to know the needs of your students to adapt instruction to their language level, and this involves a lot of planning. Being an advocate for your ESL students puts you in a hard position since many mainstream teachers tend to request learning disability testing without taking into consideration the language disadvantages and other factors affecting the learning process of ESL students.

How has your experience being an ESL ambassador teacher with Participate Learning caused you to grow, personally and/or professionally?

This has been a life-changing experience. I know I have become a better teacher; one that has learned to consider individual needs when it comes to planning lessons; one that has learned to consider other factors before making any kind of diagnosis or request when it comes to the learning process.

What has been the hardest part of your experience?

Being away from home is always hard. We miss our families, friends, and food. I have to say though, that we have made life-lasting friends here in the US.

Do you have any additional comments you would like to share about your experience in the U.S. so far?

The Participate Learning experience has not only been a great challenge to me but also to my wife Natalia. She joined me on this adventure even when knowing that it was going to be a real challenge for her to start from scratch; but, knowing no one here and speaking no English at all were no contenders. Natalia has been teaching P.E. and Spanish for the past two years at a charter school in Cary, NC. She has lived her own experience and is now more convinced than ever that things happen if you are willing to work for them!

Interested in teaching with Participate Learning? Get started on your application today.

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