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Teaching ESL at university programs in Ontario

 
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andyroo732



Joined: 07 Jan 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:26 am    Post subject: Teaching ESL at university programs in Ontario Reply with quote

I'm wondering if anybody knows what qualifications are usually needed to teach in one of the university ESL programs in Ontario.
I'm currently teaching in a university in Japan and have 10 years teaching experience (Korea - 3 years, Canada - 2 years, Japan - 5 years). I recently renewed my contract teaching at a university in Japan for 4 years, but I am hoping to return to Canada after that. I am starting to look into what experience and qualifications are needed to teach in Canada so that I can improve my chances of teaching at the university level.

I have seen that a TESL Canada certificate seems to be important these days. I haven't applied yet, but I feel I would be able to get a Professional Standard Three [Permanent] certificate. I have completed a TESL Canada Recognized TESL Training Program with a practicum and have an MA in Applied Linguistics (distance education) from an Australian university. As well, I have enough teaching hours for level three.

I will have taught at the university level in Japan for 6 years once I return home to Canada. Would my qualifications and experience be enough for a university position in Canada? How important are giving presentations or publishing articles?

Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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santi84



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

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in British Columbia, not Ontario, so I'll give some general input about the current situation in Canada.

At smaller universities, university-colleges, or colleges, you may be able to get a position, but they tend to prefer more Canadian experience than just two years. Is your Canadian experience at a university?

There's nothing wrong with your qualifications but there are a lot of people with even more. A distance MA is not a problem here. Your problem will be your lack of Canadian university experience.

Are you set on Ontario (family?) or are you interested in other Canadian locations?

Good luck
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andyroo732



Joined: 07 Jan 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information. I would prefer teaching in Ontario to be closer to family. I had a feeling that I would have to try getting some part-time work at a university and slowly work my way up. That's why I'm trying to save up some money in Japan before coming back to Canada. My teaching experience in Canada wasn't at the university level, so I can only get upon arriving back in Canada and trying to get some part-time work.
It's good to know that my distance MA will be alright.
Thanks again.
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cassava



Joined: 24 Feb 2007
Posts: 163

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andyroo 732:

If you want to teach at the university level in Ontario, you will need to have at least a PhD in your area of expertise. Of course, it is far better to have a PhD, substantial research, and the academic reputation of being a rising star.

It is also worthy of note that the kind of courses that you taught to students in foreign universities probably do not exist in Ontario. When foreign students arrive here, they have to possess the skills in English that will allow them to undertake university work without difficulty. ESL is not on the table.

The only university that might have special programs for foreign students is Brock University. I suspect that such courses might be taught on a part time basis and might be geared to recent immigrants who are heading to community colleges. My information might be dated, so check for yourself.

If you were to obtain most of the trappings of potential university professorship (PhD plus peer-reviewed publications plus "star" status), then you could apply to a Department of Linguistics which is seeking a tenure-track professor. If you have youth on your side and you can fend off the host of Canadian post-docs, out-of-province Canadian profs, superstars from foreign universities, who will all be also seeking the position, then you just might be lucky enough to get an interview.
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santi84



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

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cassava,

Here in B.C., the university-colleges and colleges offer ESL ranging from true beginner to TOEFL-prep level. I understand that an actual university (ie. UofT) is out of reach for the PhD-less OP, but do those programs exist in Ontario as well?

Another option for OP if he is interested would be Quebec (assuming he wants to be closer to eastern Ontario). I'm doing a lot of calling/investigating because I'm moving to Montreal in the next few months and he would be in high demand at a CEGEP and possibly some of the universities (I suspect McGill and even Concordia would require a PhD but UQAM etc. may not). I've been making some phone calls and the level of French required for well-qualified ESL instructors is erm, "flexible" Wink
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cassava



Joined: 24 Feb 2007
Posts: 163

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Santi 84,

I believe that the type of courses that you have mentioned probably do exist at the community college level in Ontario. However, I can't think of any university here that offers them on a permanent, full-time basis. Nevertheless, it is quite possible that some ESL courses are offered on a part-time basis in evening or summer sessions in some universities, but such courses would be sporadic and probably taught by sessional teachers rather than by full-time professors. The B.C. situation, because of various linguistic and socio-cultural factors, has always been different from Ontario's.

In Ontario, the Feds are trying to move away from funding ESL classes at certain levels. I don't know if you heard that SISO, the organization that deals with settling new immigrants, has had its funding slashed and that the LINC (second-language teaching) program has been seriously damaged.

If the OP has his mind fixed on returning to Ontario, then he should aim at a job at the community college level. Competition for these jobs is fierce because there is a glut of teachers on the market. Nevertheless, if the OP can offer some other subject, especially something of a technical nature, along with his ESL qualifications, he might stand a chance of getting a job offer.

Quebec is a different kettle of fish, and the OP would need to speak fairly good French in order to get a job teaching ESL in a CYGEP.

ESL teachers returning from overseas jobs to resume their career in Ontario usually face massive problems. Their qualifications and experience are often discounted. A few get jobs, others are left to fend as best they can.
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santi84



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

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information. I've been on maternity leave so I've been a bit out of the loop and it looks like Ontario is more grim by the week! Shocked
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andyroo732



Joined: 07 Jan 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks cassava for the info. I was actually aiming towards the language schools that the universities are running that don't offer credit courses. My university in Japan sends many students to the Queens School of English for a semester for study-abroad opportunities and I know some other universities are doing this as well. It was more this level of teaching that I was aiming for as opposed to being a regular professor in a linguistics department.
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ntropy



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 647
Location: ghurba

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Queen's SOE only requires their teachers to be TESL Canada certified. Actually, they say TESL Ontario.

Easiest to start with the summer programs when they recruit extra staff. They advertise on the school website and on TESL Ontario and TESL Canada web sites. If you do well and someone in the regular programs is moving on, you may get a chance with the courses the rest of the year.
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dmocha



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject: cassava is bang on! Reply with quote

"EFL teachers returning from overseas jobs to continue their career in Ontario usually face massive problems getting into the ESL field. Their qualifications and experience are often discounted. A few get jobs; others are left to fend as best they can." Cassava

There are 20,000 (count the zeros) qualified members of the Ontario College of Teachers (Grades 1-12) who are unemployed!

In the adult sector the market is glutted with highly qualified teachers from overseas with decades of experience, impressive resumes, great qualifications, and publications. Since it wasn’t “Canadian experience” (where have you heard that before?) most of it won’t help you. The sheer numbers of people chasing the ever decreasing number of jobs makes it a buyer’s market.

Given recent events in Japan, an exodus of expat EFL teachers is inevitable.

My degrees, certificates, experience were essentially worthless in Canada. If I left the country and went back to EFL work, that would be a different story: my old resume would still be useful.

I went through all this and eventually gave up on teaching in Ontario, sucked it up and went back to school in a completely different field just to get a steady job.

So you might consider do a complete re-evaluation of your life goals, career options and market conditions in the province of your choice. It took me 10 years of marginal work in all the sectors of adult English language instruction to wake up and smell the coffee. Had I reached that conclusion 10 years ago, when I first came back to Canada, I’d be that much more established in my new career. Money-wise, I’d have been hundreds of thousands of dollars ahead by working full time.

Food for thought…

PS EFL and ESL are worlds apart. They really are different fields and experience in one sector is only partially transferable to the other.


Last edited by dmocha on Sun May 01, 2011 3:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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cassava



Joined: 24 Feb 2007
Posts: 163

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:06 am    Post subject: Re: cassava is bang on! Reply with quote

dmocha wrote:



So you might consider do a complete re-evaluation of your life goals, career options and market conditions in the province of your choice. It took me 10 years of marginal work in all the sectors of adult English language instruction to wake up and smell the coffee. Had I reached that conclusion 10 years ago, when I first came back to Canada, I’d be that much more established in my new career. Money-wise, I’d have been hundreds of thousands of dollars ahead by working full time.



Every year, the Colleges of Education in Ontario continue to churn out hundreds of teachers qualified for the public education system, even though the Ontario Ministry of Education and the various teachers' organizations know fully well that the new graduates have almost no hope of securing employment.

The naivety of many of these teachers is simply mind boggling. Go to any Ontario university campus and talk to final-year students who are thinking of entering the teaching profession and you will quickly discover how profoundly ignorant they are about the massive glut of teachers on the market as well as the fact that will graduate into a no-win situation--huge university debts to pay off and no hope of getting a job.

The problem is compounded by the large number of international teachers who migrate here with stars in their eyes, get their qualifications approved, and then discover to their absolute horror that they don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of ever getting a job.

While we can heartily condemn the gullibility and the woeful ignorance of teachers, we must also castigate the villains in this piece, namely the Ontario educational authorities who have many vested interests in maintaining the current state of affairs. Fortunately, dmocha realized, albeit somewhat late, that the light at the end of the tunnel was a speeding train, and made the necessary career change. Few teachers in Ontario act in such a rational manner. Instead, they continue to pile up more and more courses and specialities, with the simple-minded expectation of improving their wretched lot.
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dmocha



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 3:16 pm    Post subject: Crushing ESL instructors in Ontario Reply with quote

Times are tough in ESL in Ontario. Even those who got into the university system are being squeezed. Universities are out for the bottom line like every other business. Here is a current situation at the University of Ottawa which is in the process of crushing the ESL PT 'professors'.

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

Here's part of the article:

"Non-credit professors at the bilingualism institute have been asked to leave the union or take a pay cut of 52 per cent, and teachers at the Faculty of Education can leave the union or face salary reductions of 67 per cent, Knox said.

"The dispute arose because the university wants teachers of non-credit courses, like those offered at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, out of the union, or for them to take severe reductions in salary, according to the union.
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cassava



Joined: 24 Feb 2007
Posts: 163

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 7:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Crushing ESL instructors in Ontario Reply with quote

dmocha wrote:
Times are tough in ESL in Ontario. Even those who got into the university system are being squeezed. Universities are out for the bottom line like every other business.


In recent years, such disputes have also taken in other subject areas at various Canadian universities. Strikes at the University of Toronto, McMaster University and Queens University attest to this fact. Nevertheless, dmocha is correct in pointing out the dimensions of this phenomenon and the negative way in which some Ontario university faculties are being affected.

In a certain department of one prominent Ontario university, all undergraduate teaching is done by sessional professors. These are the people who never made it to tenure-stream status, have no upward academic mobility, and are consequently stuck in their unenviable position with a poor salary and few, if any, benefits.

In addition, the problem is compounded by the fact that even if one is lucky enough to be hired as a tenure-stream assistant professor, that does not necessarily mean that such an individual will be eventually granted tenure, in spite of years of research and academic publications. Such profs are often unceremoniously dumped after their six-year provisional period is concluded. Financial constraints are usually the real reason why such faculty members cannot be retained. The strange sounds that you can currently hear are being made by various university Deans unceremoniously hacking off the branches to which these "recently-appointed" tenure-stream wretches have been desperately clinging for years.

One might assume that professors who find themselves in such a plight would be able to retrain as high school teachers and find suitable positions at that level in Ontario. However, the current glut of teachers on the market makes such a move impossible. In any case, PhD holders have never been welcomed as secondary school teachers in Ontario. There is a deep-seated fear in certain quarters that such people would "radically alter educational perspectives and dimensions", whatever the devil that quote is supposed to mean.

These days, those Ontario students who are thinking of undertaking the long, arduous grind which will eventually result in the acquisition of a PhD had better make sure they are involved in cutting-edge research in highly-specialized fields in engineering, medicine, quantum physics, robotics, etc. Their best chances, to put it crudely, lie in areas which can benefit their university financially. If such students are seen as a potential drain on the university, their long-term survival will be severely compromised.
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GambateBingBangBOOM



Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 1893
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ntropy wrote:
Queen's SOE only requires their teachers to be TESL Canada certified. Actually, they say TESL Ontario.


Two VERY different things. You can get TESL Canada for a CELTA. You need to spend a year at a university or Ontario college to get TESL Ontario certified (there are a couple of exceptions, now).

OP (if you're still there): you may well find that you are told that you need to get a CTESL / [Ontario university] TESOL Certificate etc in order to qualify for jobs at Ontario universities. Many of the jobs teaching ESL in universities in Ontario go to the people who do the CTESL at that particular university (or the closest one that has one, if they don't). You may be thinking right now, "Why would I need a certificate, when I already have a masters?' but most of the people who are teaching ESL in Ontario universities have both the one-year certificate AND the masters degree in Applied Linguistics {you need to do the CTESL as a prerequisite for the masters in Applied Linguistics}. It's basically the same amount of training as you would have AFTER doing your CTESL program, if you get no transfer credit. The way TESOL (or Applied Linguistics) is taught through universities in Australia is very different than the way it is taught through universities in Canada (I know this from having done a CTESL and then an Australian masters degree in TESOL by distance). The CTESL is sometimes described as 'initial teacher certification' (in the same sense of a one-year consecutive B.Ed is an initial teacher training certification, and NOT in the way that 'Aunt Sally's TESOL certificate' or the CELTA or other things like it are considered initial teacher training certifications).

You do not need a PhD to teach ESL in a university in Ontario. You do need a masters degree (and there are people in Ontario who teach ESL with a CTESL [or TESOL or whatever their particular university decided to call it] and a masters degree in a different subject- like having an undergrad in English, a CTESL and an MA in English lit). Publications and presentations are nice, but not necessary for teaching ESL in Ontario (they are if you make the jump to getting a PhD so that you can do ESL teacher training, though). What you absolutely need is experience teaching in Ontario (the university CTESL programs focus on teaching you how to teach at that particular university) and you can get a start on that during your practicum- I was told during my CTESL that if we wanted any chance of teaching at a university, that we had better do part of the practicum in the university itself, observing and occasionally being basically an ALT in ESL classes (mine was split so that I was at the university for the first term, and in the community for the second, and then volunteered until the end of the ESL term- later than the end of the university term).

Quote:
Every year, the Colleges of Education in Ontario continue to churn out hundreds of teachers qualified for the public education system, even though the Ontario Ministry of Education and the various teachers' organizations know fully well that the new graduates have almost no hope of securing employment.


A B.Ed won't get you a TESL Ontario certificate. They are two different pathways for teaching. Having a {probably university only} TESL Ontario certified course OR a B.Ed will get you the prerequisite for the only distance language teaching masters in Ontario (OISIE's ridiculously long and expensive M.Ed in SLE [Second Language Education]).

here

Part of the reason why the universities continue to churn out so many B.Ed graduates (other than the obvious financial reasons- which are really the main ones) is that so many newly-minted B.Ed holders burn out in the first year or two of teaching and a significant number know by the end of their practicum that it isn't for them (other places get people to do observation classes as part of the application process so that they have SOME idea of what they are getting themselves into beforehand). Some people do the CTESL programs in order to get into a B.Ed program. Some people do the CTESL programs coming out of the other end of a B.Ed as an alternative. And then some get their B.Ed and go teach as an ALT in Japan.
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