The winner of our 2019 Member Survey $50 gift card drawing is Jolene Francoeur, an ELL Teacher/Coordinator in Somersworth, New Hampshire. Congratulations Jolene!
Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. We really appreciate your feedback. While the gift card drawing is complete, the survey is still available to you; your participation is a huge asset to our work.
Below, we introduce you to our new Member Spotlights.These short biographies, posted each month, tell us a bit more about NNETESOL members. Jolene, our gift card winner, has graciously offered to be the focus of our first Member Spotlight. If you too are interested in sharing about your work in the field of TESOL, please email us at email@example.com.
February 2019 Member Spotlight: Jolene Francoeur
My name is Jolene Francoeur. I am an ESOL teacher in Somersworth, New Hampshire. I have been teaching English language learners in the capacity of teacher for 11 years. I came into the field by accident. I was a teacher then took 13 years off to raise three children-Collin, 26, Drew, 24, and Emily, 20. I decided to head back to work when Emily was in second grade. I started as a Title I tutor. In my work with Title I students, I had many English language learners and loved that part of my job. When our ESOL teacher moved to Alaska with her husband, I approached the principal about the job. She was very supportive and enthusiastic and I was offered the job while getting my ESOL endorsement through New Hampshire’s Alternative certification program for critical shortage needs. While taking classes toward the certification, I was engrossed in learning more and ended up pursuing my Master’s in Education in TESOL with Grand Canyon University. And that is what lead me to become our district’s ESOL teacher/coordinator.
Somersworth is a small city in New Hampshire with a low incidence population of English language learners. The district consists of two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. Somersworth has over 100 English language learners in the school district. We have 2 full time ESOL teachers and one part time. Our population includes students from 20 different countries speaking 27 different languages. We have a very large population of students from Indonesia. Somersworth has the biggest Indonesian community in the state.
The most important aspect of teaching English language learners, for me, is to always make them and their families feel comfortable and welcomed first. Allow the students to feel safe. Somersworth uses an asset based philosophy to assure classroom teachers and help them understand what the English language learners CAN DO not what they can’t and don’t understand. They have many skills and lots to bring to every classroom. Somersworth students spend the majority of their school day with classroom and content teachers, the ESOL staff in Somersworth has been working hard to bring professional development to the classroom and content teachers. Sometimes that is the biggest challenge: to help classroom teachers understand the strategies and philosophies to help English language learners acquire more English.
It is so important to me to be part of the TESOL community. NNETESOL is a great way to continue to learn and grow from each other, collaborate, advocate, and not feel so isolated. In many districts, there is only one or two ESOL teachers who are the experts in their field. Often administrators are not as knowledgeable about the ESOL population, strategies, language acquisition, and testing. They will look to you for ideas and answers and we don’t have all the answers. It is nice to have a local collaborative to lean on for help and answers. Thanks to NNETESOL for providing us a great collaborative community.