Statistics released by the Migration Policy Institute show that, as of the 2007-2008 school year, Maine had only 4,223 students in its K-12 ESL programs, or about 2.2 percent of its school age population. However, there are over 16,000 children under the age of 18 in immigrant families in the state, comprising over 6 percent of this population segment. These numbers show a 53.5 percent increase from the prior decade. After English, the primary home languages spoken in Maine are Spanish, Cushite, French, Persian, and Chinese.
Maine’s Prospects for ESL Teachers
The Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing, compiled by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, has released a list of subject areas in which Maine has a shortage of qualified teachers. English as a Second Language has appeared on this list every year since 2003, and for every grade level. The Portland Public Schools Multilingual and Multicultural Center adds some interesting details to this picture, namely that the Portland school district is diversifying at a rapid clip. The district has 1,800 students from non-English speaking homes, and these families speak over 60 different languages.
In summary, although Maine’s immigrant population is not as large as that of other states, its demand for TESOL instructors is consistently high, particularly in more urban areas.
Maine TESOL Job Boards
- State, regional, national, and international TESOL resources are listed on the Job Opportunities page of the NNETESOL site and the Jobs page of the FLAME website.
- Maine DOE recommends Serving Schools as the primary place to locate teaching jobs as well as other positions related to education in Maine.
Maine’s ESL Teacher Resources
- Northern New England Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (NNETESOL) represents multicultural, ESL, and bilingual educators in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont as a regional representative of the international TESOL association.
- FLAME, or The Foreign Language Association of Maine, represents the state’s foreign language and ESL teachers.
- The Multilingual & Multicultural Center is a project of Portland Public Schools. In addition to serving the diverse district’s ELLs, the center provides outreach to parents and the general community and organizes staff development in best practices for TESOL.
- FAME, or the Finance Authority of Maine, administers the Educators for Maine Loan Program. Eligible teachers work at a Maine public school for a designated period of time in exchange for student loan forgiveness. As of 2013, this program included educators in ESL and Foreign Languages.
- Maine DOE maintains the English as a Second Language and Bilingual Programs Web page as a reference guide for the state’s public programming serving ELLs.