Multi-lingual teaching possibilities in the United States
01 August 2006
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Immigrants arriving in another country often face one immediate and strong challenge: they must be highly fluent in the primary language of that country. To navigate a complex set of laws and procedures for obtaining and retaining residency permission, visas, and work permits, a person needs to speak and read the native language at a high level, or hire someone who can translate subtle meaning and instructions.
Immigration to the United States means knowing English. This is changing slowly, but all government documents are in English. Obtaining citizenship also means demonstrating fluency in English.
However, one of the most difficult things to demonstrate are needed skills to enter the workforce. And one of those skills is the ability to teach English. Currently in the U.S. there is a shortage of skilled teachers, which opens up opportunities for immigrants who are educated and fluent in English in addition to their mother tongue.
The U.S. provides a certain amount of funding to make language classes available to new immigrants, but with recent large numbers of immigrants arriving, the funding is running out. Private businesses are taking up the extra burden, which provide employment opportunities for teachers, as well as opportunities for immigrants to consider starting their own business as a private language school.
Of course, your skills in English and your native language must be impressive. The potential rewards are good, though.
Teaching can be done as private instruction, where not only immigrants are interested in the service, but many Americans wish to study with a native speaker. Spanish is becoming nearly a requirement with America's large Mexican population, but there is a strong demand for many other languages. Korean, Chinese, Russian, Polish, German and Vietnamese are just a few that are currently running short of teachers. Teaching people to speak these languages is almost as important as teaching natives in these languages to speak English.
The English language will achieve a record in the history of humanity sometime this summer. Oxford university estimates that there will 1,000,000 words in the English language, due to the constant creation of new words and the adaptation of words from other languages into English.
During the current immigration debates in the U.S. there has been talk of making English the national language. While there is strong support for this view point among certain special interest groups, many people aren't concerned. It probably won't make a difference in the long term, since the language of the government will remain English no matter legislation.
Businesses are more pragmatic. To capture market share in open competition, they will use whatever language their customers speak. Currently, Spanish will become increasingly important. Being able to teach English and Spanish, in addition to other languages, is a very valuable skill in the work force today.
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