Montana’s ELL student population, as reported by the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, stood at over 6,700 as of 2008. What is interesting about this statistic is that it shows a dramatic downturn in the state’s immigrant population, a 24 percent decrease since 1998. Montana also stands out as being one of the few states in the country in which Spanish is not the top home non-English language spoken. Instead, the five principal languages or language families represented are Navajo, Pacific Island languages, Asian languages, North American Indian languages, and African languages.
The Montana Indian Nations Web page, published by Billings Public Schools, goes into more detail about Montana’s home language diversity. The state has seven Indian Reservations that are home to twelve different tribal groups. Six percent of the state’s total population are American Indian.
The Future for Montana TESOL Educators
The U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing states that English as a Second Language has not been reported as a subject shortage area for several years. However, in the 2012-2014 school years, the related areas of English, Library, and World Languages were all listed. In addition, a report assembled by OPI indicates that Montana’s public school system suffers from difficulties in recruiting and retaining quality educators in the state’s more remote areas. Rural teacher training and internship programs are among the offerings of the state’s certification programs. Overall, ESL and bilingual educators have a greater diversity of options in other states, but can also find work in a related specialization in Montana.
Finding a TESOL Job in Montana
- OPI administers Montana Jobs for Teachers, a web portal that allows intending educators to browse state teaching opportunities and apply online.
- View and apply for education jobs on Montana’s Indian reservations via the Bureau of Indian Education website.
Montana TESOL Resources
- Montana is one of only a few states in the nation without a state affiliate of the international TESOL association, and there is no website for the Montana Association for Bilingual Education. One related organization is the Montana Indian Education Association, advocating on behalf of multicultural and multilingual programming, as well as educators in the state.
- The guide to Title III Part A English Acquisition and Enhancement Bilingual/World Languages/Language Acquisition is maintained by Montana OPI. It summarizes Montana’s and federal policies regarding programming for the state’s Native American students and other ELLs.
- The Indian Education and Leadership Development (I LEAD) Project offered by Montana State University recruits, trains, and certifies Native American students and places them in administrative positions at Montana schools that have large populations of American Indian students. The program offers professional tracks for future principals and superintendents.
- The Montana Adult Basic and Literacy Education organization administers literacy programs and sites throughout the state.