According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, Mississippi hires an above-average number of literacy educators and ESL teachers relative to its population size and need. However, the state ranks in the lowest 25 percent of the country for its rate of pay, reporting an annual mean wage of about $32,000, compared to the top pay rate of over $67,000 (in New Jersey). While this difference in wages is significant, Mississippi has a lower average wage for workers overall.
Outlook for Mississippi ESL Teachers
While it does not boast the immigrant growth in population patterns of Tennessee, its neighbor to the north, Mississippi does have some immigrant presence, as recorded by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). As of 2007-2008, there were nearly 23,000 children of immigrant families in the state, and slightly over 5,000 qualified as ELLs in Mississippi’s K-12 public schools. Compare these numbers to Tennessee, with over 25,000 students in ESL programs, and the level of need for TESOL educators in Mississippi seems quite low. In fact, Mississippi has the lowest immigrant population numbers in the entire region.
Openings in Mississippi ESL Education
- MDE’s Job Search Assistance Web page has hyperlinks to the School District Employment Database, the current list of qualified teacher shortage areas, and the Mississippi Teacher Center.
- The largest city in Mississippi, and its capital, is Jackson, one of the major hiring sources for public school teachers in the state. The Jackson Public Schools website has a Human Resources Web page that links to its Vacancies Web page.
- University of Mississippi’s School of Education maintains a Job Board listing openings for K-12 teachers and administrators as well as jobs in higher education.
Professional Resources for Mississippi ESL Teachers
- AMTESOL represents bilingual and ESL educators in Alabama and Mississippi as the regional branch of the international TESOL association. AMTESOL hosts conferences and disseminates information about bilingual and TESOL programs, resources, research, and policies.
- The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) endeavors to defeat anti-immigrant legislation in Mississippi and to advocate on behalf of services and programs for the state’s immigrants, refugees, and ELLs.
- Southern Education Desk reports on policies affecting educators and students in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Louisiana.
- While Mississippi does not have its own affiliate in the international TESOL organization, it does have a shared regional branch, AMTESOL, which represents Mississippi and Alabama ESL, bilingual, and EFL educators.
- The Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Program provides tuition scholarships for educators who commit to teaching in a Mississippi public school district designated as being a critical shortage area.
- In 2013, the Mississippi legislature created the Teacher Education Scholars Program, a hybrid loan/scholarship plan to help future educators cover their expenses for pursuing a traditional teacher preparation program in Mississippi. Once participants earn their degree and license to teach, they must teach in a Mississippi public school for five years to obtain loan forgiveness.