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Immigrating to Montréal from USA to teach ESL....

 
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TrishTeacher



Joined: 09 Jan 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:34 pm    Post subject: Immigrating to Montréal from USA to teach ESL.... Reply with quote

(Sorry for the long post. I wanted to give you detailed information so you could answer accurately.) I currently live in Seattle, WA, USA and would like to teach ESL in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. I am seeking advice on how to do this. I have been researching forums and it is looking like a very difficult task. Here is my situation....

THE GOOD & THE BAD....
1) I have a BA in French & Fashion Merchandising and recently received a Masters in Education, ESOL specialty from a USA online university (Concordia in Portland). I do not have a TEFL certificate.
2) I speak French, but am out of practice so I will need to regain my fluency but it is definitely doable with a bit of practice.
3) The good news is I have 7 years of teaching experience, but the bad news is that it is not in ESL. I own my own business teaching dance/fitness/art. I have not taken the certification tests for K-12 in WA state because I want to move... Some of the art teaching experience is as an art docent in an elementary school (2 years).
4) Seattle is very expensive (one of the highest in the USA) and living expenses in Montreal would be much cheaper. We are used to living frugally (really, really frugally...I am teaching in the arts - need I say more? lol.).
5) I have 2 children (teenage & preteen) to support so I cannot survive on dirt-cheap PT employment, though. Because of this I can't do shared living. I would need a 2 bedroom (4 1/2). My children are learning French so language will not be a huge issue.
6) I am in my mid-forties so I am not sure if I will experience age-discrimination (Let's face it; it still exists despite the laws).
7) And, yes, I've done the research. I know Montréal winters are cold. I grew up in northern WI so I know the meaning of "It's not that cold. I can still feel my face!" Smile (WI is about the same average temperature as Montréal).

From what I can tell, to get a work visa or immigrate, you will need an employment offer but you cannot look for employment while visiting Canada. This seems a bit of a "catch-22"? I really would like to live in Quebec (I am looking at this from a long-term perspective). I could move back to WI for a year or so to gain ESL experience there and be closer to Montréal (so I could drive there for interviews, job search, etc...). I would also be more than willing to teach art, dance, fitness, waitress, sell artwork... whatever to earn a living in Canada while looking for ESL jobs or working PT in ESL. Smile

Has anyone done this? I would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank you!!! (Merci!!)
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 854
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bienvenue Smile

Here's the bad news-

Do you really want to teach ESL? The market here is poor if you are not a certified public school teacher. The only other option is the dirt-cheap PT employment. ESL is a specialty subject here which is tightly regulated - you need an actual education degree in TESL to teach in the public school system. This is an exception from the rest of Canada and in the US.

Here's the good news-

I'm nto sure if you are aware, but Quebec has separate immigration from Canada. If you speak French (even just a minimal working knowledge), then you may have a better chance of getting here (as opposed to a unilingual American coming into English Canada).
http://www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/index.html

Your children will be legally required to attend French school. The exception is children of a parent who was schooled in English IN Canada. That's fine I hope, the francophone schools here are excellent anyways (I opt to send mine to francophone schools even though I am eligible for anglophone).

With your MA in Education and experience, you may be able to get work in the English school district and even the French school districts. I would contact the provincial teacher association directly and ask about your unique situation.

I'm from Vancouver, British Columbia. It sure is a lot colder here, but the summers are certainly nicer than in our rainy west coast Smile
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TrishTeacher



Joined: 09 Jan 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:25 pm    Post subject: @santi84... (reply) Reply with quote

Thank you for your response.
RE: IMMIGRATION
I've been on the Québec immigration website before and, from what I could tell, I would have enough "points" according to the point system. If I seek a "work visa" as an independent business, I would need quite a large sum of money (somewhere around $17,000USD) to prove I could support myself OR an actual job offer (no money involved, other than immigration fees, of course). The problem is how do I get that job offer?? Would someone be willing to hire me from my CV in this job market?

RE: JOBS
I'm not particularly set on having to teach ESL even though I would like to use my degree. I could do a combination of PT ESL work and other work (i.e. teaching dance/fitness/art, waitressing, etc....). In the USA each state has different regulations for certifying teachers. Usually, you would need a degree in Education and have to take a basic skills test as well as testing for endorsements (i.e. ESL, art, etc...) if you want to teach a specialty or secondary education (grades 7-12 in USA). I would like to become a certified public school teacher in Quebec but realize this may take some time and investigation. My MA is in Education with an English to Speakers of Other Languages specialty so I may be able to just get my TESL certification in Canada as I would want it to be one of the approved ones. Great suggestion to contact the Provincial Teacher's Association... I will start there.

RE: CHILDREN ATTENDING FRANCOPHONE SCHOOLS
Yeah!!! Smile I also prefer that my children attend the francophone school and see this as a huge benefit rather than a detriment.

Hang in there. You really do get used to the cold! I lived in Wisconsin/Minnesota for over 20 years and it just seemed normal (It's actually as cold and/or colder than Montreal's average temps in the northern parts). Plus, if it's going to be cold you might as well have some snow to go with it so you can do cool things like ski & ice skate - sure beats the cold rain! Thanks again for your informative post!
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