Although it has a smaller population than its eastern neighbor, Wisconsin, Minnesota has more immigrants and students categorized as ELLs, according to the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. As of the 2007-2008 academic year, the state had 62,600 students with this designation, a 129 percent increase from the previous decade. The home language of the majority of ELLs in Minnesota is Spanish, followed by Hmong, Cushite, German, and Russian. Statistics cited by Craig Helmstetter of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation indicate that Minnesota is far below the national average in percentage of immigrants, but far ahead of the national average in the rate of growth of its immigrant population. The article also notes that Minnesota has an established history of accepting refugees.
Career Outlook for Minnesota’s ESL Teachers
Minnesota’s general population is diversifying, and its immigrant population is growing. Add to this fact that the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education has released its Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing, which indicates that Minnesota has had a critical shortage of qualified English as a Second Language teachers for every grade level (K-12) and for every academic year since 1990-1991, except for the years 1992/1993 through 1999/2000, for which no shortage areas were submitted. For many of those years, the areas of Bilingual Education, Bicultural Education, and World Languages and Cultures have also been deemed as having teacher shortages.
Certain portions of the state offer a more promising outlook in ESL education than others. Population trends tracked by the Minnesota Compass organization show that the state’s prime areas of population growth for immigrants are in the Twin Cities, followed by the southern and southwestern regions.
Minnesota TESOL Job Listings
The Minnesota Teacher Recruitment Center (MTRC) maintains a page with links to services with current educator job postings, among them:
Key TESOL Resources in Minnesota
- MinnTESOL, or Minnesota Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, is the state branch of the international association of TESOL professionals in the fields of bilingual and ESL education. MinnTESOL hosts workshops, conferences, professional development, and advocacy events, as well as publishing a journal and newsletter.
- The Minnesota Literacy Council provides a searchable directory of ESL classes in the state and also provides resources for educators and adult literacy program volunteers.
- Multilingual Minnesota has state and national information of use to ELLs and educators in the field.
- The Minnesota Advocates for Immersion Network organizes on behalf of Minnesota language immersion programs.
- Minnesota Advocates for Immersion Network (MAIN) consists of teachers, administrators, parents, and pre-professionals who support Minnesota’s one-way and dual immersion language programs.