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Old 07-05-2012, 02:11 PM
 
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How many of you Spanish, French, German, etc. etc. teachers have not studied abroad? If you have not, have you found it very difficult to get a job because of that? I am certified as a Spanish teacher and currently teach ELL. I have had difficulties trying to get Spanish teaching jobs since I did not study abroad in college (I had a tough enough time paying bills and eating). Have any of you had similar experiences? What is your take on studying abroad? I think it's an un fair requirement since nobody expects a music teacher to live in Vienna or a government teacher to live in DC. I see the benefits of it but I don't think teachers should have that held against them.
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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It probably isn't that not studying abroad is held against you as much as if you have two well qualified applicants and one spent a semester or a summer in a full immersion situation they would have added experiences. If you teach Spanish even volunteering in the US with Spanish speakers would be helpful. Perhaps volunteering at a free clinic or a day care center or even getting a part time job in a grocery store or at a shop in a Spanish speaking neighborhood would be great. Maybe now that you are out of school you can use your language skills to assist in some type of volunteer or mission program in a Spanish speaking country. Even two weeks in Mexico may help your chances in getting a job vs. not having any travel experience.

There is a big difference between a "book learned" language and the day to day conversations and activities in another country.

My children attended a French Immersion School and the school went out of their way to hire a wide variety of French speakers. Many originally came from France, French West Africa, French speaking parts of Canada, etc. The school definitely gave preference to teachers who had traveled or lived in other countries.

My daughter's degree is in International Relations and, at her University, there is requirement to study abroad before you can graduate in that department. I believe that all of the foreign language degrees and many of the business degrees also have that as a graduation requirement at her school. I think that it is reguired much more often than even 5 or 10 years ago.

Good luck.
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:50 PM
 
2,612 posts, read 5,594,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof2000 View Post
How many of you Spanish, French, German, etc. etc. teachers have not studied abroad? If you have not, have you found it very difficult to get a job because of that? I am certified as a Spanish teacher and currently teach ELL. I have had difficulties trying to get Spanish teaching jobs since I did not study abroad in college (I had a tough enough time paying bills and eating). Have any of you had similar experiences? What is your take on studying abroad? I think it's an un fair requirement since nobody expects a music teacher to live in Vienna or a government teacher to live in DC. I see the benefits of it but I don't think teachers should have that held against them.
It makes absolute sense. It is one reason I would not advise anyone who is not a native speaker or related to one to major in a foreign language. You will always be at a disadvantage compared to people who have lived in that country, especially those who grew up in it. Even if you spend a small fortune living abroad to try to get the experience with the language and culture that comes from living in a country, you will still have a hard time being competitive with native speakers or those who can afford to spend even more time there. I spent a lot of time abroad and still found myself at a disadvantage compared to people in my field who had actually married native speakers - and honestly, I'm not sure some of them didn't have that advantage in mind when they got married!

Nothing learned in school can equate to time spent living in a foreign country. You can't even say for sure if your language skills are good enough to get by there. However, if you are a native speaker of Spanish who was born here, that is a good qualification in itself - provided you can explain how your background relates to teaching the language, of course. However, if you are not a native speaker of Spanish and have never lived in a Spanish-speaking country, then I'm afraid I wouldn't hire you either.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:57 PM
 
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@ germaine, I teach English language learners, most of whom are from Mexico or Guatemala. I talk to them in Spanish at times and frequently speak with their parents. I think that should count for something. I have also traveled so it's not like I've never been anywhere.

@ marie, I can understand the native speaker point, but you don't think it's just slightly disriminatory to refuse to hire someone just because they aren't married to someone of Hispanic descent or because their mommy and daddy couldn't fund a trip abroad? I hope you don't turn people down for that reason.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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Originally Posted by Prof2000 View Post
@ germaine, I teach English language learners, most of whom are from Mexico or Guatemala. I talk to them in Spanish at times and frequently speak with their parents. I think that should count for something. I have also traveled so it's not like I've never been anywhere.

@ marie, I can understand the native speaker point, but you don't think it's just slightly disriminatory to refuse to hire someone just because they aren't married to someone of Hispanic descent or because their mommy and daddy couldn't fund a trip abroad? I hope you don't turn people down for that reason.
Yes, your experience does count but sometimes when jobs are very competitive you need to be extra well qualified.

When I retired my school district had 1,200 applicants for the ONE position of early childhood special education teacher. I know that normally there aren't that many applicants but let's say that there are 250 or so applicants (pretty typical where I live) for the one job. The school district needs something to help them narrow the pool to a workable number. For a foreign language teacher it may be something like how much experience they had speaking that language full time.

I'm very sorry to be so pessimistic but If I were hiring a foreign language teacher I would be concerned about a degree from a college that even allowed someone to get a teaching degree in a language without reguiring at least some full time experience with native speakers (maybe not a semester abroad but some fulltime experience). So it may be your college putting you in the "not interested pile" of applications.

OK. You've got your degree and didn't get that experience while in college. You can't change that. Now you need to look ahead and see what experiences you can get now that will help you get the job of your dreams. Maybe you need to look for a teaching job in a different area, perhaps in a small town or a rural area that doesn't have hundreds of applicants for one position. Or get more practical experience now. I sincerely wish you good luck.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
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I have taught ESL as a volunteer and most of my students were Ethiopian or Hispanic. They even expect volunteers to have traveled and know the culture differences.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:47 PM
 
137 posts, read 248,888 times
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@ germaine, are you telling me then that you would not hire a music teacher who didn't live in Vienna, since they would have experienced the composers' hometowns? Would you refuse to hire a biology teacher who didn't spend some time on the Serengeti or the Galapogos Islands because that would somehow make them more qualified? What about a world history teacher who didn't live in Athens or a government teacher who didn't live in DC? How are all of these scenarios different from a language teacher who didn't live abroad because they could't afford to spend $5k to $7k to travel around Europe or Latin America? Wouldn't all of these other teachers have experienced their content area "full time?" By the way I'm in a very rural state so I highly doubt there are 1,200 applicants for a Spanish position. Also, don't you think it's a little unreasonable to expect someone to uproot and move to another country to teach after college?

@ yellowsnow, I'm sorry to hear about your experiences as well.

Last edited by Prof2000; 07-06-2012 at 01:02 PM..
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
19,480 posts, read 25,219,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof2000 View Post
@ germaine, are you telling me then that you would not hire a music teacher who didn't live in Vienna, since they would have experienced the composers' hometowns? Would you refuse to hire a biology teacher who didn't spend some time on the Serengeti or the Galapogos Islands because that would somehow make them more qualified? What about a world history teacher who didn't live in Athens or a government teacher who didn't live in DC? How are all of these scenarios different from a language teacher who didn't live abroad because they could't afford to spend $5k to $7k to travel around Europe or Latin America? Wouldn't all of these other teachers have experienced their content area "full time?" By the way I'm in a very rural state so I highly doubt there are 1,200 applicants for a Spanish position. Also, don't you think it's a little unreasonable to expect someone to uproot and move to another country to teach after college?

@ yellowsnow, I'm sorry to hear about your experiences as well.
I don't want to get into a personal argument with you.

However, I believe (and I think that many others believe) that there is a difference between someone who teaches a foreign language and other types of teachers.

Regarding your other examples. If I was on a hiring committee for a school district and we had the choice between two science teachers who were equal in everything else, yes, I think that we would hire the teacher who had spent some time doing scientific research/academic science related travel in other countries. Or two government teachers equal in everything else and one actually worked in state or federal government and the other hadn't we would choose the teacher with more practical experience.


I think that the same would be true of any other type of job. Althought it isn't exactly the same thing, my husband used to be a security guard. The places hiring almost ALWAYS gave the best jobs to former police officers or former military rather than someone who just had a two or four year degree in "security" no matter how "good" they were. The extra experience made a tremendous difference when they were hiring..


Also, don't you think it's a little unreasonable to expect someone to uproot and move to another country to teach after college?

I'm not saying "pack up and move" but you may need to do something to give you a edge on your competition. If you live in a rural state you may not have as much competition as in a more urban area but from your original post it appears that your lack of full time experience in a foreign country or in a place that speaks Spanish full time may be hurting your chances.

Last edited by germaine2626; 07-06-2012 at 03:47 PM..
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:47 PM
 
137 posts, read 248,888 times
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However, I believe (and I think that many others believe) that there is a difference between someone who teaches a foreign language and other types of teachers.

Why?
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
19,480 posts, read 25,219,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof2000 View Post
However, I believe (and I think that many others believe) that there is a difference between someone who teaches a foreign language and other types of teachers.

Why?
At least in Wisconsin learning about the different cultures, holidays, activities, life styles, etc. is almost or as important as learning the actual spoken & written foreign language. In the classrooms most of the actual language instruction is done within a framework of the day to day "life in France, or Mexico, or Russia, etc". Almost all of the current textbooks also use that type of framework.

Our state foreign language standards are 51 pages but skimming through them it is pretty clear that someone who is very knowledgeable about the culture and day to day life in one or more foreign countries would have a much easier time teaching the subject matter to children. That doesn't mean that others are not able to do it but just that it could be easier for someone with their own experiences to draw upon.

Here is a brief quote from our standards. Check the standards in your state. Maybe they do not focus on "culture & day to day life" as much. You could use that to help you in interviews if your lack of foreign travel is questioned.


Students in Wisconsin will demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the
[practices and perspectives of the cultures studied
]Rationale]: To fully understand another culture, students need to develop an awareness of]
[another people's way of life, of the patterns of behavior that order their world, and of the
traditional ideas, attitudes, and perspectives that guide their behaviors

Last edited by germaine2626; 07-06-2012 at 04:20 PM.. Reason: quote didn't turn out correct
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