The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition has compiled data indicating that Arkansas had 26,000 school age children categorized as ELLs in the 2007-2008 academic year. This statistic marks a 287 percent increase from the previous decade. The Urban Institute notes that Arkansas had the fourth fastest-growing immigrant population in the United States from 2000 to 2005, and the nation’s fastest-growing Latino population for that same time period. The most common home languages spoken by ELLs are Spanish, Vietnamese, Pacific Island languages, Laotian, and French.
Career Outlook for Arkansas TESOL
Statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, as of May 2012, Arkansas scores above average in the amount of literacy and ESL teachers it employs. In addition, it reports an annual mean wage for ESL educators of almost $48,000, the highest in the region and $5,000 more than Louisiana, its neighbor to the east.
Not only is the pay competitive in Arkansas, the jobs are there as well. Teach Arkansas maintains a page summarizing the state’s Critical Shortage Areas. It indicates that, as of the 2012-2013 school year, one of the general teacher shortages in Arkansas was ESL. In addition, the entire Arkansas Delta region, which runs the eastern and southern borders, has a shortage of qualified educators in every subject area and at every grade level. The state in particular seeks minority educators. Overall, TESOL graduates may do well to start or continue careers in Arkansas, which has a decent chance of experiencing growth in its immigrant population in coming years.
Finding Your TESOL Job in Arkansas
- ADE publishes all educator openings for its public schools on the Teachers-Teachers job bank.
- ADE maintains a list of the state’s public school districts and hyperlinks to their Web pages on its Districts page. It also has a Charter Schools Web page.
- The largest school district in the state, Little Rock School District, has its own Human Resources site with links to employment.
TESOL Professional Groups and Resources in Arkansas
- The state affiliate of the international TESOL group, Arkansas Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ArkTESOL), advocates on behalf of ESL, bilingual, and multicultural educators and programming.
- The Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center provides ESL teacher training workshops.
- The Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s State Teacher Education Program assists with the repayment of outstanding student loans in cases where teachers work in Arkansas public schools in a designated teacher shortage area.