Una Gran Demanda

(Spanish Educators are in High Demand)

In its 2008 survey of Educator Supply and Demand in the United States, the American Association for Employment in Education identified Spanish as one of the areas that has nationally experienced teacher shortages. Those qualified to teach Spanish are in high demand as the new decade commences.

In its 2008 survey of Educator Supply and Demand in the United States, the American Association for Employment in Education identified Spanish as one of the areas that has nationally experienced teacher shortages. Those qualified to teach Spanish are in high demand as the new decade commences.

In January 2008, the York College Department of Education distributed surveys to 34 school districts in York, Adams, Franklin, and Lancaster counties, seeking information on their current and future needs for Spanish teachers. The results indicated a “Current Need” for 23 openings to be filled and an “Immediate Future Need” for 63 teachers.

“The neighboring 14 school districts all have language programs with potential openings,” said Cynthia Doutrich, PhD, associate professor of Spanish and coordinator of foreign languages at York College.

Because of the proven need for Spanish educators nationally and now regionally, York College will debut a Spanish Education major in Fall 2011. The major will allow students who choose a career in education to complete all the requirements to teach Spanish in levels K-12 in Pennsylvania and other states with which Pennsylvania has a reciprocal relationship for teaching certification.

“Students who graduate with a Spanish major (not Spanish Education) are not certified to teach the language,” said Doutrich. “Spanish Education allows students to combine their interests in Spanish with their desire to teach.”

The Spanish major will, however, benefit from the new major and its resources since students in both will take many of the same Spanish classes.

“The major difference is that Spanish Education majors will not do an internship or independent study since their student teaching experience covers a full semester,” said Doutrich.

When the first group of students graduate with a Spanish Education degree in May 2015, they will be certified to teach Spanish to the typical population of English speakers in a public or private school.

“However, there is nothing in the certification that prevents a student from using it to teach Spanish to speakers of other languages,” she said. “For example, we may have a student who decides to live and work oversees in a country where English is not the first language.”

Doutrich expects that the Spanish Education major will grow over the next few years “as students become aware of all of their options and the need for Spanish teachers.”

What makes York College’s major distinct?

Because the Spanish Education major was added due to a proven employment need, York College was able to design it based on what employers were looking for in terms of language and cultural skills.

“Some colleges that have had such a major for a long time would face a difficult challenge if anyone suggested making changes,” said Doutrich. “We began this proposal with a clean slate and had only one thing in mind: developing the best major possible that could be completed in four years.”

York College listened to employers’ requests for cultural skills by requiring students to study abroad.

“We know from experience that until a student has a full immersion experience, his or her understanding of another culture is purely academic,” she said. “Other colleges may encourage study abroad, but we require it.”

Although Doutrich prefers that students opt for a semester abroad, she recognizes that this is not always feasible because of education requirements or financial limitations.

“We have excellent opportunities for mini-mester and summer study so that students can complete the six-credit requirement in a shorter stay in locations such as Spain, Mexico and Puerto Rico,” she added. “This experience, combined with the course requirements and student teaching, will prepare students to fill positions all over the country and abroad.”

Dominic DelliCarpini, PhD, dean of academic affairs at York College, agrees with Doutrich and believes the Spanish Education major is another great example of the College offering a program in response to community and student needs. 

“The need for highly qualified language teachers in our elementary, middle and secondary schools continues to grow,” said DelliCarpini. “The Spanish Education major allows our students to choose an in-demand career path, and it also gives our graduates the opportunity to serve students in the community.”