Life as an ESL Teacher

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 10, 2007 1 min read
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A column that ran in the New York Times last week tells how Allison Rabenau, an English-as-a-second-language teacher in New York City, struggled over three school years to reduce the amount of time she spent both at the beginning and end of each school year “to prepare, administer, then score a standardized test for English fluency.” One school year, she spent 12 weeks on testing matters.

Samuel G. Freedman, a journalism professor at Columbia University and the writer of the column, notes that Ms. Rabenau resigned this past school year from New York City’s schools and expects to soon move to Bangkok, where she will teach at an international school.

A blogger who is an ESL teacher in New York City and read the column writes that New York’s English-language proficiency test requires that he interview each of his students one by one for the oral section of the test. While he’s tied up with the testing, the rest of his students end up doing “busy work,” he says.

ESL teachers, are you having similar experiences to those of Ms. Rabenau and the blogger at How much time do you spend each school year on testing English-language learners with standardized English proficiency tests?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.