What Do Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary Do?
As a postsecondary foreign language teacher, you will teach college courses in languages other than English, including American Sign Language (ASL). These may be classes in language instruction, or they may be literature studies. You may research and write, or only teach.As globalization increases and international business dealings become the norm, demand for postsecondary language teachers is rising, with a 15 percent positive change projected over 10 years. This means 1,080 job openings per year.
Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary Skills and Abilities
Being able to teach a foreign language to native English speakers requires extensive practical knowledge in both the foreign language and in English. You must understand the pronunciation, structure and grammatical rules as well as the history of the language and the culture of its speakers. Of course, you also need to know how to teach, including how to assess student learning and adjust your methods appropriately. Your communication skills should include public speaking ability and clear, concise writing. You’ll need to be adaptable to meet the needs of a diverse body of students.
Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary Duties
Teaching others requires a lot of time and effort, and working on the faculty of a college or university involves even more than teaching. As a postsecondary foreign language teacher, you can expect your duties to include:
- Planning and preparing course contents and curriculum
- Selecting textbooks and literary collections
- Creating and distributing syllabi, information packets and other course materials
- Preparing lectures
- Facilitating classroom discussions
- Evaluating student learning and progress
- Maintaining attendance and other records
- Serving as a student advisor
- Keeping regular office hours
- Recruiting students for your program
- Planning outings, field trips and other activities relevant to your curriculum
- Organizing and recruiting for study abroad programs
- Fundraising, including writing grant proposals
- Mentoring students
- Keeping up-to-date on current employment trends in your field
- Researching and writing for professional journals
- Attending ongoing training and development sessions
- Collaborating with other instructors, both inside and outside your department
- Performing other duties related to campus life, including advising student groups
- Reaching out on behalf of your institution or department at community and on-campus events
Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary Tools and Technology
In your role as a language teacher, you will most likely use projectors, microphones and screens while teaching your class. You may also use teaching software, both for organizing your class materials and for teaching remote or online classes. You will probably need word processing, email and publishing software as well.
Education and Training for Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary
You may be able to teach at this level with only a master’s degree, but in order to become a full-fledged professor and to be eligible for tenure, you will need a doctoral or professional degree. While there is typically no on-the-job training required, your academic career will almost always involve some practical teaching and lecturing experience.
Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary Salary
The median salary for postsecondary foreign language teachers is $59,500, with the majority earning between $32,500 and $116,900. Pay tends to go up with experience and increased responsibility. Teachers at the college and university level are not usually paid by the hour.
Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary Jobs by Geography
Ten US states report over 1,000 postsecondary foreign language teachers. The states with the highest number of professionals in this field are California, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania, while the states with the highest expected percentage of increase are Georgia, Utah, Washington and Colorado. At least 29 states project more than 10 percent growth in the field. The states with the highest median wage for college-level foreign language teachers are California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Utah, each reporting over $70,000 per year.