I had taken a SIOP training way back in 2007 when I was a new teacher and had taken my first contracted job at a school that served predominantly students of Hispanic backgrounds. At that time, I was a 2nd year teacher and my principal not only signed me up to participate in the SIOP workshop, but also encouraged me to get my Master's in TESOL instead of Reading. I'm forever grateful that he did because a) I have so much passion for working with my ELs and b) it gave me job security when there was still a lack of job security in teaching. Having the ESL endorsement really ensured I would never be laid off.
As I have worked in a general education classroom for 13 of my 14 years of teaching, I certainly used the SIOP strategies, especially because for 12 of those 13 years, most of my students were classified as ELs. (In fact, last year, of my 29 students, only TWO were not bilingual but ALL of them had at least one parent who was of Hispanic heritage.) However, as I was transitioning from a self-contained elementary classroom where I had the same students throughout the day to a position as an ESL teacher, I knew I wanted to brush up on my SIOP training.
The very first training I did was one afternoon. You could classify it was a very brief overview (sometimes I say it was a "fly by night" type of training because it was so brief). This past summer, however, the training was much more in-depth. It was 3 full days full of learning, engagement and provided me with so much more to bring into my new role as an ESL teacher.
Earlier this fall, as I was settling into my new role, my ESL team in our district (there are three of us) were invited to join a local EL Connect network. We meet four times per year with other ESL teachers in the area to connect, share stories, get some professional learning around supporting our ELs and network. Most recently they announced an opportunity to become a SIOP Trainer. I was very excited about the possibility because there hasn't been much SIOP work in my district and having someone who can train our staff would be hugely beneficial.
I got a letter of recommendation from my principal, our EL Connect Coordinator and completed the application. Applications were due last Friday and today I got an email telling me that I was accepted for the program! I am so excited about it!
I LOVE providing professional development for my fellow educators and I am super excited to have this opportunity. I will spend two days in March in Lansing at the training and then one day in April there as well. Some time this summer, I will have an opportunity to complete the training by helping to facilitate a SIOP training in one of our regional ISDs.
I'm super grateful because I do have so much passion for supporting my EL students and having an opportunity to bring this work into my district in a professional way is really exciting!