Elizabeth Coppolino, ESOL Teacher, Woodbrook Elementary School
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The biggest challenge for me as an ESOL teacher is finding time to work with all my students. Coordinating with the busy schedules of both students and teachers in all the grades from Kindergarten to 5th grade is always a challenge. One of my solutions is to create afterschool learning opportunities for my students. It gives me time to work with my students and they really benefit from the extra instruction.
What is the most common misconception about your job?
A common misconception about teaching is that our day is over when the students leave. The end of the school day is often the beginning of meetings, afterschool programs, grant writing, home visits, data review, and of course planning and preparing for the next day’s learning experiences.
Where do you see the teaching field in five years?
I think we will continue to see a deeper integration of technology in the learning environment. I hope that the technology will be embedded in problem-based, exploratory projects. These types of projects drive students to become passionate explorers of the world around them as they strengthen academic skills and develop creative minds.
What outside experience prepared you best to become a teacher?
Traveling and living overseas has really helped to prepare me to be an ESOL teacher. I understand the complexities of finding your way in a new culture and learning a new language. I also know that language learning is a challenging cognitive task. I draw on these insights as I design the learning experiences that help my students grow as English speakers, readers, and writers.