WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – Districts across the state are experiencing teacher shortages. Especially “English as a Second Language” teachers. ESL teacher Lorenzo Villa shares why this is alarming to him.

“Imagine going somewhere where you don’t speak that language and you’re spoken to in that language all the time and you don’t understand anything. It’s very intimidating and the kids are going to shut down,” says ESL Teacher Lorenzo Villa.

A tenth of the student population in Region 12 needs ESL or bilingual teachers.

“If you look at the statistics that students who don’t speak English is the first language. And by the time if they’re in high school and they’re still struggling, they’re going to drop out of school,” says Villa.

With there being multiple ESL and bilingual teacher vacancies, local school districts are offering stipends for those who are qualified.

“At Region 12 are not, again, not only looking just for that one time, you’ve got your certification, check out the box, but what can we do to make sure that you feel equipped for the long haul,” says Education Specialist Faith Foster.

For those who don’t have their English as a Second Language certification, Region 12 and TEA offer free test prep.

“Have created an asynchronous course where teachers can go through that at their own pace. But also I provide individual coaching based on their needs,” says Foster.

“Continuing to work on high quality instruction and curriculum development with those districts in order to make sure that those students are getting the strategies they need and that that’s impacting those students in the classroom,” says ESL Program Coordinator Amberly Walker.

Mr. Villa says that by having these resources available, it not only allows teachers to succeed but his students as well.

“You’ll see that students who are bilingual, who are speaking two languages, if they do receive that support, will actually outperform in many types of students that are monolingual, only speak one language,” says Villa.

Those interested in getting ESL or bilingual support you can click here.