When I first started thinking about teaching ESL, I was fresh out of college. I had sat through 3 years of education courses and learned all about how to use the materials provided to create beautifully crafted that aligned to the standards. I was confident and cool. I thought I would go into the classroom having everything I needed to present the material to my students and help them reach English proficiency. Boy was I wrong! I greatly underestimated the struggle of finding resources for ESL.
That first year I spent hours searching for what I needed to teach a newcomer life skills class. Sometimes I would find the perfect worksheet or PowerPoint! Other times I would just use what I can find and tell my students which parts I actually wanted them to use. Mostly, I found myself making my own resources or piecing them together from what I could find. Six years in and I still find myself searching for the perfect activity for hours before just making something myself.
Finding ESL teaching materials is like trying to find Atlantis: they just do not exist. Not only is it difficult to find good resources in a quick Google search, but very few companies make resources intended for ESL students. I also feel like the materials for beginners is too easy and the resources for intermediate students are too difficult. A lot of the time, I also find that the materials I am able to find are dated, filled with mistakes, or just unprofessional looking. I rarely find anything I am happy with, if I can find what I am trying to look for at all. (I am by no means bashing the content out there such as Dave's ESL Cafe and English for Everyone. There are good websites out there, just not nearly enough, especially when compared to other subject areas.)
When I have had actual resources made by a company, I always feel like they are lacking practice or depth that students need to really master the standard. It seems no matter what I do, I have to make my own resources. Most of them have been spur of the moment things that I threw together to get myself through a lesson or a standard. Some of my assignments, however, have been worthy of sharing with others. I feel it is my duty as an ESL teacher to share any materials I feel may benefit another teacher: to raise awareness to the lack of quality resources for ELLs and to help someone else out.
Quality resources for ESL students is a must in education. How can we expect students to grow without the proper resources to help them get there?
That first year, I told myself that I would keep everything that I made because someday I would share them with someone else, someone who really needed them. Through my tutoring business, I hope to continue using my materials with students, but also share them with other tutors and teachers who desperately need new materials to use with their learners.
View the beginning of my resource collection here, on my TpT store. Or click the link below to gain your FREE access to the first part of my 10-part vocabulary book Adventures in the Forest: Vocabulary in Context for ELLs and Other Struggling Readers.