Updated: Jun 12
It's no secret that bilingual teachers are in high demand. What does the research tell us about retaining them?
Retaining bilingual teachers can be a significant challenge, but there are several strategies that educational institutions and policymakers can implement to encourage their retention.
According to a brief released by the Comprehensive Center Network (CCNetwork) in 2021, there are three ways you can work to retain your bilingual teachers.
Here are some suggestions:
Teacher Pipeline Initiatives: Removing obstacles for recruiting, training and certifying teachers through "Grow Your Own", residency (similar to medical) and teacher induction/mentorship programs.
Competitive Salaries and Benefits: Offering competitive salaries and benefits is crucial to attract and retain talented bilingual teachers. Providing financial incentives such as bonuses or higher pay scales for bilingual teachers can motivate them to stay in the profession. Scholarships, tuition subsidies, loan forgiveness and in-kind incentives also work.
Supportive Work Environment: Creating a supportive work environment that acknowledges the unique challenges faced by bilingual teachers is essential. This can include providing adequate resources, supportive administrative staff (training is key), in addition to opportunities for collaboration, autonomy and peer support. Bilingual teachers should feel valued and appreciated for their contributions.
How We Can Partner with You
If your bilingual teachers have ever told you that they need more resources or that their resources aren't a good fit for their students, you need to listen. Many curricular materials developed by publishers in the U.S. are often translations or written using university level academic Spanish. Others are from Latin America where the terms and colloquialisms (informal language) are foreign to Spanish speakers in the U.S. These materials make teachers' jobs even more frustrating. Administrators who hear this need to know that bilingual teachers aren't trying to be difficult...they're trying to get the needs of their students met. Financial incentives for bilingual teachers should not be construed to be "compensation" for having to create materials not provided by their schools. Being bilingual and biliterate is an intellectual achievement not unlike mastering an instrument, or being a math whiz. Bilinguals are highly valuable employees with many options besides teaching. If you wish to retain them, you must be committed to providing what they need. You would never ask the school nurse to make her own bandages, why would you expect bilingual teachers to make their own books, posters, articles, etc.?
BEE Partners' mission is to help you create a supportive working environment for bilingual teachers by providing them with easily accessible resources to instruct emergent bilingual students. We have developed supplemental curricular resources designed specifically to build oracy and literacy at the same time. Our Social Solutions/Soluciones Sociales takes the stress off of teachers to plan Spanish and English academic content in reading/social studies as well as includes language boosting activities, while affirming the culture of Latino students. In essence, we've brought everything together in supporting program goals of bilingualism, biliteracy and biculturalism, all in one solution. We offer school site licenses for grades 3rd-5th and are available to work with you in creating a supportive environment to retain your bilingual teachers. Contact us today via email at email@example.com, or phone at 844.211.2711 for samples and pricing information. Visit us at: www.beepartners.org