Serving English Language Learners Online

Launch English teacher Airin Bassett shares how her passion for virtual learning led her to a full-time job with Launch after spending 17 years in the classroom.
By Savannah Waszczuk

I had a job outside of education when my kids were young, but it wasn’t too long before I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. I went back to school and got a master’s degree, and I also got my teaching certification.

I started out looking for a job teaching high school English, but I ended up coming across an elementary English Language Development (ELD) position. I applied for it thinking that it sounded interesting and like something that I would like, and I got the job. And I’ve taught English Language Development ever since.

My first experience was teaching students who were English Language Development and also had additional life happenings—I taught students who were refugees and students who were newcomers to the country. I’ve worked with traditional students, and I’ve had students who have had limited and interrupted formal education. I’ve always loved every minute of it.

I started teaching for Launch during COVID, and  I got really excited last year when Dr. Lemmon shared that Launch was adding opportunities for English Language Development learners. We were already doing so much to make content and learning accessible—we had counseling services, special education services and gifted—but this part was missing. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be a part of it. I applied, and I was hired as Launch’s full-time English Language Development teacher at the start of this year.

I start my day with live lessons for our upper-level ELD students. We focus on Advantage Tier 2 and Tier 3 academic language and work to ensure students are familiar with various words and themes that they’ll encounter as they move through their various disciplines of study—English, math, science and social studies.

I also work with different Launch partner school districts to help them support their ELD learners, and I’ve started looking at the curriculum we provide in our main stream classes. I work with our digital course developers and Dr. Roe to make these classes more accessible for ELD students.

I’d say my favorite thing about my job is knowing that I am helping make content accessible for all learners—and of course enjoy working with the students. We are making their transition into language acquisition so much easier, and that means a lot.

Jan McClellan

English Language Development  Teacher

Home District: Springfield R-XII
Years in Education: 9
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree, Communications; Master’s Degree, Education; ESOL Certification
Fun Fact: “I love Fruit Loops,” Jan says. “Like, honestly, I like them a surprising amount. They can be a snack, but they can also be a craft! I’ve liked them since I was a little girl.”