While Texas, Oklahoma’s neighbor to the south, boasted a booming ELL student population of over 700,000, Oklahoma had a more modest tally of 35,300 ELL students in its K-12 public school programs, according to 2007-2008 school year data released by the National Clearinghouse for English Acquisition (NCELA). This number indicates a minimal increase of 6.7 percent for immigrant arrivals compared to the prior decade. The most commonly spoken languages in Oklahoma, after English, are Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, North American Indian languages, and Chinese.
Job Prospects for Oklahoma ESL Educators
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing shows that, while Oklahoma has reported shortages of qualified educators in English, Spanish, and Foreign Languages in recent years, it has never (as of 2013) registered having a shortage of ESL or bilingual educators.
However, these statistics are not the full picture of what is happening in Oklahoma education. While immigrant numbers are comparatively low, prompting less demand for ELL programming, the state is experiencing an overall shortage in qualified educators. In response to this issue, the Oklahoma SDE established the Oklahoma Education Workforce Shortage Task Force in 2013. Overall, ESL and bilingual specialists have fewer opportunities in Oklahoma than elsewhere (notably Texas), but the future will bring greater need for general educators as well as for those in the TESOL-related fields of elementary education, language arts, reading, literacy programming, English, and foreign languages.
Where to Look for Oklahoma ESL Teaching Jobs
- Teach Oklahoma is the official SDE website, featuring employment opportunities as well as information about certification and state-approved preparation programs.
- The Oklahoma State School Boards Association maintains a Job Listings Web page with links to openings in the state’s public school districts.
TESOL Teacher Resources in Oklahoma
- OKTESOL, or Oklahoma Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, is comprised of professionals and pre-professionals in ESL, EFL, and bilingual education.
- The Future Teachers Scholarship Program is geared for Oklahoma residents with qualifying GPAs and test scores who are dedicated to working in a teacher shortage area in Oklahoma public schools for three consecutive years.
- Teach Oklahoma provides an overview of state certification requirements and current job openings in Oklahoma’s K-12 public schools.
- OSDE’s Title III-A, Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Web page outlines the department policies and statistics regarding ELLs in its public school systems.
- While it does not have a website, the Oklahoma Association for Bilingual Education maintains a page on Facebook.