Category Archives: Career Development

Career Tips for Shy/Introverted ESL Teachers and Students

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In general, Western society favours people who are extroverted and outgoing. This bias can be seen in multiple areas of daily life. At school and work, it is apparent in the emphasis placed on teamwork and open workspaces. In language, it is evident in the positive connotations associated with those who are outgoing/extroverts (e.g., approachable, the life of the party) and negative connotations for those who are shy/introverts (e.g., sheepish, wallflower).

Personally, I am an introvert. I prefer calmer environments and get depleted by lots of stimulation. I was once very shy, and I feared negative social judgment. In this blog, I present three strategies that have helped me cope as I have climbed the TESL professional ladder.

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SOS: Tackling Mid-Career Malaise

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People sometimes joke about having a midlife crisis yet the truth is, research shows midlife (i.e., approximately in your 40s) is when people really do experience the lowest satisfaction in their personal and professional lives. This is a stage of life during which many have the highest financial burdens and the most at-home demands.

Canadian TESL professionals also experience malaise mid-career. In a study on the reflections of three mid-career ESL teachers in Canada, one participant noted she had “gone a little stale.” Another felt she had “plateaued professionally.” Experts say the signs that you are experiencing malaise can include feeling lethargic, disinterested, and unmotivated. You may be asking yourself questions like Is this truly what I’m meant to be doing with my life?

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Boosting your Career with the OCELT Designation – Growth. Recognition. Community.

Image source: TESL Ontario

Written by Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy, Accreditation Services Manager, TESL Ontario

Hi there. My name is Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy. I am the TESL Ontario Accreditation Services Manager. I am also an OCELT. Do you know what OCELT stands for? We see OCELT in email signatures, resumes, title slides of presentation decks, and presenter biographies quite often these days, which is excellent for our profession! The OCELT professional designation acknowledges the professional status of certified practitioners and enhances their professional prestige as members of a dynamic ESL community. If you are an OCELT but haven’t started using your professional designation yet, or if you are not an OCELT but are planning to start the application process soon, this blog post may encourage you to start today!

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Navigating Ontario’s EAP Sector (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this 2-part series, I discussed how people can get their foot on the Ontario English for Academic Purposes (EAP) ladder.

In this post, I discuss ways to climb the EAP ladder. As I stated in Part 1, much of what I say will likely be pertinent to other TESL environments. 

Climbing the ladder

Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com
Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

In general, ESL work in Canada is precarious, and this situation also applies to the EAP sector. Recent research by Corcoran and Williams (2021) found that Ontario EAP programs offered more part-time and temporary contracts than any other province/territory. One consequence of this situation is that there are many highly educated and experienced EAP instructors competing for very few full-time opportunities. So, to make your mark, you have to bring your A-game. 

Below are my four suggestions for situating yourself effectively for advancement. 

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Growing Your Career During the Winter Months

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Guest Contributor: Catherine Crawford

Winter is a dormant season in Canada where the cold weather brings nature into hibernation. As such, our careers can also tend to fall into a period of stagnation during this time of year. It’s cold, dark and not many people are feeling energized compared to other times of the year. So, if you are trying to grow your career, how do you ensure it doesn’t suffer during these winter blues? Here are 4 career tips to implement this winter season:  

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Navigating Ontario’s EAP Sector (Part 1)

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2022 marks a professional milestone for me: one decade as a contract instructor within Ontario English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs. The last ten years have seen me criss-cross the province undertaking assorted contracts for eight post-secondary institutions. Every college/university I have worked for has had a unique culture and slightly different approach to academic preparation for English language learners. However, some common themes have emerged about how the Ontario EAP market seems to operate.

In a two-part series, I will share insights about navigating a career in EAP that I wish I had realized from the start. I am confident much of what I say can apply to other TESL environments too.

In this first blog of the series, I discuss how people can get their foot in the door.

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Tip for TESL Career Advancement: Be Visible! 

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Are you a part-time ESL/EAP instructor hoping to step into fulltime employment at your institution? If so, you are not alone. Recent evidence shows most ESL/EAP instructors in Canada are sitting in the precarious part time employment boat with you and are hoping to advance.   

Perhaps you are wondering how you can distinguish yourself from the pack? One method of distinguishing yourself is to have workplace visibility. 

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Why Do We Need a Mentor?

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If you google the meaning of “mentorship”, you can find the literal meaning in the dictionary. According to Merriam-Webster, mentorship means “the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor” (n.d.).  But what does this mean in practice? Why is having a mentor important? This article discusses the importance of mentorship at work, how to find a mentor, and how to maintain a healthy and successful mentorship.

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TESL Ontario – Building Connection and Community in a Virtual World

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In this pandemic reality, a virtual world like no other has been born. Pre-pandemic, our members enjoyed a combination of online and in-person events that fulfilled both professional development needs, as well as authentic peer connections. Since 2014, TESL Ontario had been focusing its efforts on providing accessible online professional development to our members. Our successful webinar series has always allowed members to gain new skills and expand their knowledge from the comfort of their own homes. However, at that time they had other options available to them, if they were looking for something more. If they were seeking tangible connections, organic conversations with other ESL practitioners, or a basic sense of community, they often turned to in-person events, such as our annual conference, or local affiliate chapter conferences and other professional development events. 

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SMART Goals

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Guest Contributor: Catherine Crawford

September is the only month that rivals January for that feeling of a new beginning, a fresh start. As many of us have enjoyed the lazy days of summer, Fall brings a sense of change and a newfound energy with it. Whether you are headed back to school, back to the office in some capacity, or are looking for a career change, the Fall is a great time to refocus and set goals.

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