There is little doubt that English is an almost global language in the business world, so it’s no wonder that students are now studying the English language to boost their abilities to access opportunities in many different sectors and industries. Many children are now learning English as another, or second language, hence the need for ESOL specialists in all kinds of educational institutions, and no organization knows more about this than DoDEA.
Operating no less than 160 schools across 8 districts in 11 countries, 2 territories and 7 states, and providing teaching across ten different time zones, it’s no wonder that the staff at DoDEA know a thing or two about teaching children who have a first language other than English.
It is for this reason that DoDEA employs specialists in the ESOL field and one of those specialists is Cameron Gonzales. Currently working in Cuba in this role, she has extensive experience in the education sector and knows all about the key qualities that an ESOL specialist needs to ensure success for the children in their charge.
“Becoming an ESOL specialist is challenging, but it’s also extremely rewarding,” Cameron says. “However it isn’t an easy job. Not only do you have to go through training, but you also have to have some essential character traits to ensure not only that you’re successful at your job but also that the children who you work with enjoy the best possible experience.”
With this in mind, here are the five essential traits that Cameron believes all ESOL specialists should have.
“All teachers need to have patience, but those who teach ESOL need to be even more patient than all the rest,” Cameron says. Teaching English as a second or other language is an extremely challenging educational field. ESOL specialists have to be prepared to offer their students even more guidance and help at every step of the way, helping them to keep up with other learners without becoming stressed and frustrated.
The Ability To Adapt
“No two days are the same in any classroom, and that goes doubly so for ESOL specialists,” Cameron believes. ESOL teachers have to be ready to adapt to a variety of situations and the needs of different learners. For DoDEA employees, they also need to be able to adapt to unfamiliar, new locations. Handling change well is a prerequisite for any ESOL specialist as they need to be ready and willing to embrace every new environment they encounter.
Not only do ESOL specialists with DoDEA need to adapt to new customs and cultures, but they must also adapt their teaching methods to the needs of individuals. An ESOL teacher’s default teaching methods may not work for each learner, or even for every classroom, so a willingness and an ability to adapt is a key characteristic.
A Love Of Learning
“All educators, whatever their role in a school, should have a love of learning,” Cameron says “but for ESOL specialists, this love must be even more pronounced. The world of ESOL instruction is constantly changing and this means that educators have to remain up to date on new methods, texts, training opportunities and best practices.”
ESOL specialists who stay abreast of change will not only give themselves more career opportunities but they will also ensure the best possible learning outcomes for the students with whom they work.
A Sense Of Adventure
“An ESOL specialist who works with DoDEA must have a sense of adventure as well as a keen passion to explore the world around them,” says Cameron. “During the last decade and a half, I have worked and lived in several countries around the globe including Italy, South Korea and Germany, and I am currently based in Cuba. There’s nothing I love more than seeing the world and experiencing new and exciting environments. This is something that every ESOL specialist should have if they’re to be successful in the field”.
“Probably the most vital characteristic of any successful ESOL specialist is intellectual curiosity, ” Cameron believes. “ESOL teachers who have this quality are rarely content with things being just good enough. Rather, they continue to study and to learn so that they can improve on their current teaching practice. They also have the drive to learn about other cultures and to play an active part in them. Being curious about the world has made my career even more enjoyable and satisfying, and I like to believe that I have passed my curiosity on to the students with whom I work.”
With these five qualities, Cameron believes that the stage is set for success as an ESOL specialist, whether with DoDEA or with any other educational establishment around the world.