Teaching/Refugee Education Jobs in Seattle, WA?
June 16, 2014 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning to move to Seattle in the fall and hope to work with the international/refugee population there, specifically Somalis. Which organizations are the best for international/ESL/refugee education or support for women and children?

(This is posted on behalf of my partner so responses to clarifications and questions may be delayed a bit!)

I'm planning to move to Seattle in the fall and hope to work with the international/refugee population there, specifically Somalis. I'm a certified teacher (although not in Washington) with an ESL endorsement, but I want to focus on work outside of public schools initially while I wait for the Washington certification process. I'd be happy to work as a tutor, teaching small groups, curriculum planning - basically anything education/support related.

Which organizations are the best for international/ESL/refugee education or support for women and children? I've had some luck with internet research but non-profits can sometimes be hard to get an understanding of from afar.

Any other tips or suggestions are definitely appreciated!!

posted by asymptotic to Education (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know someone in Seattle who has worked with Somalis in Seattle. I've emailed her, and I'll memail you anything I get from her.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:47 AM on June 16, 2014

There many organizations in Seattle that provide international/ESL/refugee education. It really depends on the type of learning environment you looking for. if you are looking to teach immigrants and refugees who are new to the country, you might need to look outside of the Seattle city limits. Most new immigrants and refugees are moving into South King County. Most of the families in the Seattle city limits have been here for many years. That is not to say there is not significant need in the Seattle city limits. For example, many of the refugees from the Horn of Africa are not literate in their home languages, much less in English.

A little over two years ago, I scouted many ESL organizations to provide language support for stay-at-home moms with little to no English. There are many organizations, and many of them are trying their best but provide little professional development or support.

One of the most popular organizations is ReWA. ReWA is a significant organization that provides various levels of support. I have heard, though, that it can be difficult to teach English there. The instructors are often not compensated for additional time spent planning, and the curriculum is not particularly robust. However, it is one of the most well-respected organizations in Seattle.

Another organization is World Relief. World Relief is a refugee resettlement organization based in Kent in South King County. They provide intensive English language support for newly arriving refugees.

My favorite organization is Literacy Source, based in Fremont. This is a small nonprofit that provides ESL and citizenship training. Their model is heavily influenced by family literacy and providing significant support to small groups of students.

You could also consider becoming an Instructional Assistant in any one of the public school districts in the Seattle area. These positions do not require certification, but provide ample classroom opportunities for students whose first language is not English. It is great opportunity to get involved in the public schools, and to learn whether or not you are interested in teaching in the schools. If you are looking outside of the Seattle school district, I would recommend looking at: Kent, Highline, Tukwila, Federal Way or Auburn.
posted by frizz at 10:18 AM on June 16, 2014

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has offices in Sea-Tac (just south of Seattle). I don't know if they're hiring, but you should certainly connect with them.

You should also explore www.seattle.gov and check out the various departments that work with specific communities and see if they are hiring or set up some informational meetings.

Finally Seattle Public Schools has a whole department dedicated to community and family engagement. They might be hiring. The Highline School District has the most diverse student body in the state (over 100 languages spoken), so they would be good to check out as well (not a horrible commute especially if you live in South Seattle).
posted by brookeb at 12:22 PM on June 16, 2014

I think Neighborhood House does work with immigrants -- both in ESL and in having things like child-parent programs offered in different languages. I thought I remembered Somali being one of the languages offered, but the website is not the way they connect best to the community and is somewhat short on info. Likewise, maybe a place like WestSide Baby could use someone who speaks Somali. While it is true that South King County is a good place to go, parts of West Seattle (like the High Point area and Delridge) have their own recent immigrations.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:20 PM on June 16, 2014

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