TESOL Boston 2010, site visit to Framingham
TESOL Convention, March 2010!
TESOL = Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
I consider TESOL Conventions / Conferences to be one of the best values in professional development opportunities for ESOL / EFL educators, and consider myself privileged to have attended six TESOL conventions so far [Baltimore, Md; Longbeach, CA; Tampa, FL; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; Boston, MA].
This year’s convention was held in Boston.
It is my intention to post ongoing reflections of my TESOL experiences in this blog.
One of the many opportunities offered at TESOL conventions are guided site visit tours. These do require payment of an additional fee (above the basic convention fee), but have proven to be among my most valued TESOL experiences.
Here are some notes from the site visit I participated in to Framingham Adult English as a Second Language.
Please view the Voicethread tour, too [see my related post here]
The Framingham Adult ESL program is housed in a beautiful old stone church: a rabbit warren! Here are my notes from the visit — with the disclaimer comment that I hope all of this info is accurate, but that it is what I believe I learned, and it is possible I incorrectly heard some info…
• Students at the center created a pamphlet The Stress of Immigration, Adjusting to Life in America”
In this pamphlet, students researched and shared information and tips:
Find an ESOL class as soon as possible!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Know that your first job may not be what you expected or hoped for.
Be patient with yourself and your family.
Information on changes in food, not having enough money, working very long hours, finding schools for your children, dealing with health issues, and more is included in this pamphlet.
• 3 full-time staff, not teachers: ALL teachers = part-time
• 650+/- learners registered now, 550 on waiting lists!
• Lottery to determine who / how will get into classes
• Classes scheduled mornings and eves (afternoons not reliably full / not convenient time for many)
• Scheduled around bus times, to accommodate students’ needs
• Everyone has a break at the same time = food sold by students for student scholarships = bake sales (Brazilian baked goods while we were there)
• Even two hour classes take breaks = EVERYONE at the same time; fun!
• Used to offer childcare; no longer do ($$, funding grant ran out)
• Pronunciation Power = site license for computer lab use – all classes
• (computer lab not available other times, only set up for supervised use = computer cart with computers
• Pronunciation Power http://www.englishelearning.com/ is the program they are using (and liking very much – students and teachers) – they used a Verizon grant to purchase
• ****TEACHERS paid ONE HOUR of prep time for every two hours taught!!!! (6 hours teaching = 3 hours prep; nice!) PLUS paid 1 ½ hours per week “counseling” time
• But hourly pay = low, no other benefits
• *****Notebooks/binders provided to ALL teachers = include ALL FORMS, due dates, and instructions for the entire 5 month session! “Everything” spelled out there and queries answered with “See page ___ of your book!” – saves a LOT of time over the long run (though obviously intensive preparation to get them ready)
• Same director (I think) since 1984 [not sure this is correct]
• All classes FREE to learners
• Counseling logs = date / question asked / info given / follow-up? notes = used for planning, for intervention, for grant applications
• They bill themselves as a learning and support center (I like this)
• ***BANKS – not just ‘their’ bank, but all banks = their funding champions – find a newsworthy story and use it! Find an ‘in’ then let banks compete against each other to support and sponsor whole classes, individual students, annual book supplies, transportation for field trips, more
• Green slips! (see photo) Outside each classroom door are dreaded “green slips” – any student 5? 10? minutes late to class MUST fill out a green slip and cannot enter class without a completed green slip to give the teacher. 3+ slips (or 4+ or 5+ = you decide) means a student must see the director one-to-one before returning to class. [see Voicethread]
• All students sign a contract
• Their class sizes 19 to 23
• No certification required (yet) in Massachusetts for adult ed
• MAPT (state assessment test used)
• Teacher pay only $23.17 per hour (low) but the mandatory paid prep time helps a bit…
As you read these notes of mine, and review the Voicethread, what questions occur to you? Is there anything here you would like to ask me about (reactions, questions welcomed)?