Learn how to become a bilingual teacher

Story and screenshots by Andrea Valadez

Future educators learned how to gain their Bilingual Authorization certification that will allow them to teach both English and non-English-speaking students during an online information session last Friday. 

The Making Accessible and Effective Systems for Teacher Readiness Outcomes (MAESTROs) program at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) partnered with Suzanne García-Mateus, assistant professor and the director of the Monterey Institute for English Learners Director, to lead a Zoom session. 

García-Mateus explained that the bilingual authorization program is open during the Summer and Fall ‘23 schedule and consists of three online and in-person courses. Local Monterey County bilingual teachers teach the classes and the course load is mainly in Spanish. 

Most students choose to enter the program after graduation. Still, some teachers apply after experience because it “opens up for more pay, and bilingual teachers receive a stipend” from the state.

In order to qualify, applicants must already have a valid California teaching credential and have received a passing score on the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET 3). This multiple-subject exam tests for knowledge in physical education, human development, and the visual and performing arts. 

García-Mateus advises that “in order for the state to grant you a Bilingual Authorization certification, not only do you need to pass the CSET but pass all three classes with a B- or better.” She also urges students to attend each weekly class because “it’s a very intense program.”

The most rigorous class of the three is ED 604A/B Bilingual Field Experience (June 12- July 7), which consists of in-person field experience with classrooms of bilingual students from Salinas, Watsonville or Soledad. 

In this course, prospective teachers must complete 20 hours in a classroom setting focusing on “observation, participation, planning and practice.” Working with the mentor teacher to create a consistent schedule for this course is essential.

The other two classes offered are ED 610 Methods and Inquiry for Bilingual Teachers (this is the hybrid course from June 12-23) and ED 629 (June 26- July 7), which examines the “culture and education of Latinx students.” Students can register for each class until one week before each start date.

For more information on becoming a certified bilingual educator, visit https://csumb.edu/education/maestros/.

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