Colleges

Becoming a Foreign Language Teacher

Education is one of the most important and rewarding professions you can choose. A teacher to prepare the next generation for the challenges and opportunities of the modern world. Foreign language can be an important part of this process. Children who become bilingual tend to do better in their other classes and can expand their career opportunities when they enter the work force. Learning a foreign language is also usually associated with learning about other cultures, which can broaden and expand young minds. Becoming a foreign language teacher requires a specific and unique set of skills. If you plan on teaching a foreign language in elementary, middle or high school, here is what to expect.

Teaching a foreign language is about more than just the language:

When you teach foreign language classes, you are also teaching about culture and history. Most foreign language classes include information relating to the history of the countries where the language is spoken and information about their culture. Learning a language also means understanding the environment in which the language is spoken. If there are cultural activities or events near your school where the language will be spoken, your classes may attend them.

In order to teach, you’ll likely need a teaching degree as well as time spent interning as a student-teacher. In addition to this, you’ll need to be able to prove that you are fluent in the language that you are planning to teach. In most cases, this means at least a bachelor’s degree in your chosen language. Some states require that you take an examination to prove fluency, in addition to getting your teaching certificate.

While a bachelor degree is usually required for a teaching position, getting more education will often open up more opportunities. A teacher with a graduate degree may have opportunities to not only teach, but possibly direct a foreign language department at a school.

Choosing a grade level to teach:

The specific classes in your teaching degree will likely depend on what grade levels you have decided to teach. It used to be that most of the foreign language teaching opportunities were in middle school or high school, but this is changing. Many states are experimenting with emersion elementary schools, where children begin learning a second language starting in kindergarten or 1st grade. If you are interested in teaching elementary students, you will want to investigate the teaching opportunities that exist in the state where you want to teach.

If you are looking to teach college level courses in your language, you’ll likely need more education; with a master’s degree in education. You’ll also likely need to demonstrate a higher proficiency in your language than you would to teach primary school.

Foreign Language Employability:

As our world becomes more globalized, demand for multilingual employees in many industries will grow. Educators know this, and so foreign language programs at schools are expanding; increasing the demand for good teachers. In this environment, a foreign language teacher can expect to fund several employment opportunities, as well as opportunities for advancement within their career.

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