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How do I Become a Spanish Teacher?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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In 2009, Spanish, one of the Romance languages, was the language with the second greatest number of native speakers in the world, following only Mandarin Chinese. For this reason, it is a language that a large number of students need to be educated in as native speakers, as well as a desirable language for non-native speakers to learn. The path to become a Spanish teacher varies depending on the type of pupils you want to teach, thought fluency in Spanish is a necessity in any case. To teach native students, the form of Spanish you might need mastery in could be Standard Spanish, or it could be the particular dialect of the region or people you are instructing, for example, Mexican Spanish or Ladino. It is possible that you would need mastery in only one language or dialect in order to become a Spanish teacher for native speakers.

If you want to become a Spanish teacher for non-native speakers, the situation is a bit different. Several factors come into play, including the age of the students you want to teach, their native language, and whether you are interested in being connected with any special program. Whether you want to teach in a school or are interested in private tutoring is another important consideration.

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If you want to become a private tutor, you may be able to become qualified in any way that you see fit and teach using whatever methods or approaches suit you and your pupils. You could, for example, help people become prepared for a trip to a Spanish-speaking country by helping them speak in and understand the local dialect, including slang usage. Instruction in grammar, syntax, writing style, and spelling might not come into play at all. You may also have some freedom in this regard in a private school. The freedom will also carry over to a university setting, but there, the academic training requirements will likely require you to have completed a doctorate or the equivalent in Spanish.

In schools in which teacher certification or licensure is required, specific qualifications, experience, and examinations may be required, often including at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Spanish and possibly a teaching degree. These may include not only your expertise in Spanish, but your expertise in the native language of the students, as well as your training in pedagogy and child development specific to the particular age of the students, for example, elementary or middle school. You would likely be expected to be able to instruct students in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with students who had a range of learning styles and who might also have learning disabilities.

If you want to become a Spanish teacher in a particular type of Spanish program, whether a bilingual education program, the Advanced Placement Spanish program offered by the College Board in the United States, or help British students prepare for A Level exams in Spanish, you will have additional requirements. In such a case, you will need to receive specific training in the program you which to be associated with.

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