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Data gathered by the Migration Policy Institute indicates that, as of 2008, Hawaii had a population of 77,349 immigrants under the age of 18, making up 29 percent of the overall under-18 population. Nearly 18,000 of the school-age segment of this group were categorized as English Language Learners (ELLs), comprising 9.9 percent of the K-12 student population. However, immigrants do not make up the entire linguistic diversity picture in Hawaii, as evidenced by the primary languages spoken there (after English): Ilocano, Pacific Island languages, Tagalog, Japanese, and Spanish. Hawaii’s native groups have maintained their culture and language in part due to Ka Papahana Kaiapuni Hawai’i, the state’s growing Hawaiian Language Immersion Program. Language diversity is an integral part of everyday culture, with Hawaii being the only state in the country to designate a native language as one of its official state languages.
Career Outlook for Hawaii TESOL
The Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing, published by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, show that Hawaii has never reported a shortage of ESL educators. However, every year, related subjects like English, Reading, Language Arts, and Foreign Languages have made the critical shortage list.
A news story published in August 2013 reports that Hawaii has poor teacher retention, which sparks constant teacher shortages, especially in impoverished and remote areas. Contributing to this problem is that fact that it is hard to make ends meet on a teacher’s salary in Hawaii, a state notorious for its high cost of living. In general, TESOL educators should be able to locate a job related to their areas of interest, but it might not have competitive compensation.
Finding Your TESOL Job in Hawaii
- Educating Hawaii’s Future lists educator job openings throughout the state’s public and charter school system.
- Hawai’i TESOL has a Jobs Web page with occasional listings. The organization has also created a Directory of ESL Employers in Hawai’i that includes universities, colleges, private language institutes, ELS language centers, intensive English programs, and community colleges.
TESOL Professional Groups and Resources in Hawaii
- The state affiliate of the international TESOL group is Hawaii Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, advocating for bilingual, multicultural, dual immersion, and ELL programming and educators in Hawaii.
- The Kahuawaiola Indigenous Education Program website contains links to native language and culture resources in the state and throughout the country.
- The National Education Association’s guide to Great Public Schools Criteria for Hawaii reviews policies and resources for state educators.