The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition has compiled information regarding Rhode Island’s immigrant population. It found that Rhode Island’s K-12 schools classified 7,420 students as ELLs in the 2007-2008 school year. While this is a significant number for this relatively less populated state – ELLs make up 5 percent of the overall student population, as reported by the Migration Policy Institute – it is actually 17 percent fewer than ten years earlier, making Rhode Island one of the few states in the nation with a shrinking ELL population. After English, the primary home languages in Rhode Island are Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Hmong.
Rhode Island’s Prospects in TESOL
Trends reported in the Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing, assembled by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, show that, since 1990, Rhode Island has reported critical shortages of qualified educators in English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education (Spanish) for every academic year and at every grade level. In addition, as recently as 2012-2013, the state reported shortages in the related subject areas of secondary English, secondary World Language, reading specialists, dual language immersion instruction, elementary education (general), and middle grades English. In short, TESOL graduates should have an easy time pursuing a career in their area of specialization or in a closely related subject.
Rhode Island TESOL Job Boards
- According to RIDE, the state’s public districts have local control, so all hiring is done on the local level rather than the state level. One of the places to see openings at many of these public schools is the SchoolSpring website.
- Apply to work in Rhode Island’s largest public school district directly at the Providence Public Schools Career Center.
- View State Job Vacancies, including positions at Rhode Island colleges and universities, on the state’s official Web page.
Rhode Island TESOL Teacher Resources
- Rhode Island Teachers of English Language Learners (RITELL) is the only state organization associated with the international TESOL organization of bilingual, multicultural, and ESL educators. RITELL hosts an annual conference, publishes educational research, and disseminates information regarding language education policies and best teaching practices.
- The Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island provides support services to immigrants, refugees, and ELLs via literacy programs, educational offerings, work training, and translation services.
- Brown University maintains a list of Literacy Centers and Community Resources in Rhode Island, many of which provide translation, interpretation, ESL classes, life skills training, and GED centers.
- The Rhode Island Foreign Language Association, or RIFLA, promotes studies in world languages, literature, and cultures throughout the state.