Iowa may not be the first state that comes to mind when thinking of linguistic diversity, but the state actually shows some intriguing population trends. The National Clearinghouse For English Language Acquisition indicates that, as of the 2007-2008 academic year, Iowa had nearly 55,000 children of immigrant families. This number represents over 8 percent of Iowa’s under-18 general population. Nearly 20,000 immigrant children were classified as ELLs in the K-12 public school system. This number is a 145 percent increase from the prior decade. Spanish is the top non-English language spoken at home, followed by Pennsylvania Dutch, German, French, and Arabic.
ESL Teaching Career Prospects in Iowa
According to ISDE, it hires over 40,000 public educators to serve its public preschool through community college programs. However, the state has several teacher shortage areas, as reported by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission. One of these areas is English as a Second Language for grades K-12. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing shows that Iowa has reported ESL as a shortage area every single academic year since 1996-1997. These statistics and the increased rate of immigration to the state suggest that Iowa may have an ongoing need for qualified ESL educators, despite a comparatively small ELL student population.
Employment Listings for Iowa TESOL Educators
- TeachIowa.gov allows educators to view job listings, search by region or school district, search by position type, and apply for jobs online.
- Mid-America Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (MIDTESOL) has an Employment Web page that is rarely updated. It contains openings for regional TESOL positions that are outside the public K-12 school system.
- IA REAP lists jobs by type and covers areas such as public school positions as well as jobs in alternative education, early childhood education, ESL, foreign language, substitute teaching, computer technology, preschool, coaching, administrative, and instructional support.
Professional Resources in Iowa TESOL
- Unlike other states, Iowa does not have its own affiliate of the international TESOL professional group. Instead, it is part of MIDTESOL, representing ESL, EFL, and bilingual educators from Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri.
- IDE’s English Language Learners Web page contains links to its policies, programs, standards, and assessments, as well as state and federal resources.
- Iowa’s Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA) coordinates multicultural education conferences, professional development, diversity training, and other programs that serve to provide equity for diverse learners. It is the sponsor of the Iowa Culture & Language Conference.
- The Iowa College Student Aid Commission provides information about its Iowa Teacher Loan Forgiveness program, an incentive program for teachers working in Iowa public schools in a designated shortage subject area.
- Literacy professionals and others interested in reading programs and services comprise the membership of Northwest Iowa Reading Council.