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Is a secure career in TESL in Canada a realistic aspiration?

 
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jcarroll



Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:39 pm    Post subject: Is a secure career in TESL in Canada a realistic aspiration? Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I'm going to be a senior in college this fall and it's getting to be time for me to think about what I'm going to do with my life after I graduate. The more I've thought about it, the more I feel like TESL would be a perfect fit for me. I think I would be really passionate about it and enjoy it a lot.

However, I know that for a lot of people, ESL is just something they do for a few years after school because they want to see the world and screw around a little bit before they settle down. I'd enjoy doing that too for just a few years while I gain experience, but I would really like to come back to Canada after that and settle into teaching English to immigrants (or Québécois?).

My parents are both academic types, and my dad has been working as an Economics prof for a long time at his university and accumulated a good pension and other nice benefits. Settling into a university position or some other permanent, comfortable position is where I'd love to take an ESL career, and I'm totally into the idea of getting a Master's or PhD to achieve that.

So basically, I'm wondering, is this kind of life for an ESL teacher attainable for those of us who aren't extraordinarily talented or extraordinarily lucky? Could I hold that as a realistic goal provided that I'm dedicated and enthusiastic about it? I'm kind of a mediocre student…fortunately I somehow got into McGill, but I'll be graduating from there with around a 3.0, which is certainly not spectacular.

Sorry for the vague topic…I'd just like to generally hear a little about what it's like to work in a permanent, upper-level TESL position and how to get there, so I'd love to hear anything that you have to say about it! Very Happy

Thanks!
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 843
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Is a secure career in TESL in Canada a realistic aspirat Reply with quote

jcarroll wrote:
Hello everyone,

I'm going to be a senior in college this fall and it's getting to be time for me to think about what I'm going to do with my life after I graduate. The more I've thought about it, the more I feel like TESL would be a perfect fit for me. I think I would be really passionate about it and enjoy it a lot.

However, I know that for a lot of people, ESL is just something they do for a few years after school because they want to see the world and screw around a little bit before they settle down. I'd enjoy doing that too for just a few years while I gain experience, but I would really like to come back to Canada after that and settle into teaching English to immigrants (or Québécois?).

ELSA in BC, LINC in most other provinces (including Ontario). No Quebec equivalent for English (they have it for French).

My parents are both academic types, and my dad has been working as an Economics prof for a long time at his university and accumulated a good pension and other nice benefits. Settling into a university position or some other permanent, comfortable position is where I'd love to take an ESL career, and I'm totally into the idea of getting a Master's or PhD to achieve that.

[b]Masters would be mandatory, and a PhD like required for a uni position. Some colleges will hire with just Masters.


So basically, I'm wondering, is this kind of life for an ESL teacher attainable for those of us who aren't extraordinarily talented or extraordinarily lucky? Could I hold that as a realistic goal provided that I'm dedicated and enthusiastic about it? I'm kind of a mediocre student…fortunately I somehow got into McGill, but I'll be graduating from there with around a 3.0, which is certainly not spectacular.

Sorry for the vague topic…I'd just like to generally hear a little about what it's like to work in a permanent, upper-level TESL position and how to get there, so I'd love to hear anything that you have to say about it! Very Happy

Thanks!


You are asking something that many MA/PhD Canadians would die for - but they are currently teaching overseas due to lack of work.

Must it be adults in university? If you get McGill's teacher certification for ESL, you could secure an excellent position in Quebec. If you speak at least some French (which I assume you do from living in Montreal), you may find good corporate work but it's still a long way to academia. Check out the CEGEPS around Montreal, specifically in Brossard, I think UQAM is hiring.[/b]
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dmocha



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:16 pm    Post subject: No, it's not. Reply with quote

Is a secure career in TESL in Canada a realistic aspiration?

No, it's not. Too many hyper-qualified people chasing too few, low-quality jobs. Don't kid yourself that employers at universities or colleges are somehow more enlightened than those at hole-in-the-wall language schools. They all have their eyes on the bottom line. Teachers are cheap. There ar lots of them. Most places tend to 'churn' their pool of teachers to keep them hungry, scared and greatful to be working. After a term or two they'll be kicked to the curb no matter how ingratiating they are.

Unless you are uniquely qualified and have an 'in' somewhere, forget it.

Pick a new career and get on with your life. You will lose a lot of potential income trying to recreate life abroad in Canada. It most likely ain't gonna happen.
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dmocha



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 3:29 pm    Post subject: From bad to worse Reply with quote

The University of Ottawa is actually attempting to reduce the pay and conditions of its ESL staff. The point here is not to point out UofO as a bad actor but to give readers a good look at what awaits them if they are trying (or hoping) to get into the Canadian post-secondary education field.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Summer+courses+threatened+labour+dispute/4700958/story.html

Only for the very few will a secure career in TESL in Canada be a realistic aspiration. The rest will waste years of their lives, tens of thousands of dollars in study costs and opportunity costs, and missed opportunities to change careers and make a go of it in the new career.

Life ain't a dress rehearsal.
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