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Nonstop From Classroom to Classroom, an ESOL Teacher’s Day

Griselle Rivera-Martinez spends her days as an English-for-speakers-of-other-languages teacher crisscrossing the campus of Enterprise Elementary in Enterprise, Fla., as she works with English learners from kindergarten through 5th grade in various storage rooms-turned-classrooms strategically located near general classrooms.

Her daily work with students who are English learners highlights the experiences of many ESOL teachers. Her story is part of Education Week’s new project, The State of Teaching.

Rivera-Martinez sees firsthand the progress students make over time in acquiring English, and the additional classroom support needed for newcomer immigrant students whose education in their home countries has been either limited or interrupted.

She does her best to squeeze in time between class periods to update general education teachers about what English learners need to work on in mainstream classrooms. But it’s hard to find dedicated hours for the kind of collaboration researchers say is key for this growing population of students. Rivera-Martinez echoed the sentiments of educators and researchers alike about the need for more training among general education teachers on best practices for English learners.

Though her school had initially removed an online tutoring program for English learners, which was restored sometime after Rivera-Martinez spoke with Education Week about her work, challenges related to access to quality learning materials and programs remain top of mind for educators across the country.

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