Publications & Products

English Language Teaching as a Second Career

Sarah J. Shin
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Published by the Center for Applied Linguistics and Multilingual Matters 

The first in the CAL Series on Language Education, this book explores the experiences of adults who train to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) as a second, third, or fourth career.

With an increasing number of immigrant and refugee students entering the U.S. school system, there is a pressing need for well-trained ESL teachers in both K-12 and adult education. This timely volume outlines how the nation’s shortage of qualified ESL teachers is being addressed in part by a growing number of well-educated Americans who are choosing teaching as a second career. This book outlines stories of how these individuals are applying their wide range of work and life experiences to infuse considerable insights and diversity into teacher training programs.

Drawing from in-depth interviews and observations of 30 students (ages 45 to 73) in the Master of Arts in TESOL program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the author provides insightful portraits of these individuals as they develop as teachers. Each story outlines the prospective teachers’ job histories, how teaching ESL figures into their life trajectories, the processes they go through to launch their teaching careers, and the successes and challenges that they face.

This volume is an important resource for teacher trainers and anyone working with English language learners. For teacher trainers, it shows how adults with a variety of work and life experiences develop as teachers and what can be done to support them during coursework, student teaching, and the first years of teaching. For school administrators, it provides insights into how to recruit, supervise, and support an increasingly age-diverse teaching workforce. For teachers, education researchers, and policy makers interested in education issues, it will foster a greater understanding of individuals entering the teaching profession as a second career and of ways to capitalize on the strengths of educators of diverse backgrounds for the benefit of all students. 2016. 218 pages.

About the author
Sarah J. Shin is Professor of Education and Director of the Master of Arts in TESOL Program, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Having worked in the field of TESOL and applied linguistics for over 20 years, her main areas of research are bilingualism, heritage language education, language policy, and TESOL teacher training.

Read the blog post where the author discusses the experiences of people who embark upon a new career as an English teacher later in life.

Learn more about the CAL Series on Language Education.