Data presented by the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition indicates that West Virginia had only 1,615 ELLs in its K-12 schools as of 1997-1998. While this number represents a 153 percent percent increase from the prior decade, it is not high enough to meet the criterion of a strong need for TESOL educators, at least in public K-12 classrooms. Primary languages besides English include Spanish, Vietnamese, French, German, and Farsi.
Career Outlook for West Virginia ESL Educators
West Virginia is not a densely populated state, nor is its immigrant population as large as in most of the southern states. However, it is significant that in West Virginia, ESL has been designated as a Teacher Shortage Area by the U.S Department of Education for many school years, including 2013-2014. In fact, many counties in West Virginia are reporting overall shortages of qualified teachers. The overall need has prompted WVDE to create a Western Virginia Critical Needs Listing, which allows would-be educators to search the state by county and certification area. These factors and resources contribute to the chances of ESL specialists and bilingual educators finding positions in their fields, as well as in related academic areas such as English, Language Arts, Reading, Foreign Languages, Reading Specialist, and general education.
Finding an ESL Teaching Job in West Virginia
- WVDE maintains the Teach West Virginia website and places educator openings in the Job Opportunities section. Applicants can also use an interactive map to search for district Web pages and vacancies.
- West Virginia Connections is a digital publication sponsored by WVDE that posts West Virginia opportunities in multicultural, bilingual, and ESL education.
West Virginia TESOL Teacher Resources
- Pre-professionals and professionals in multicultural and ESL education comprise the membership of WVTESOL, or West Virginia Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Education, networking, and advocacy are the group’s primary goals.
- Teach West Virginia is a WVDE site that provides current information about state policies, programs, and incentives for would-be educators.
- WVFLTA is the West Virginia Foreign Language Teachers Association, organizing conferences, professional development, and other programs associated with world language advocacy.