Category Archives: Employment

A Positive Group Volunteer Experience

multi-ethnic volunteer group hands together showing unity
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While teaching a module about working in Canada, I found my students were a bit surprised when I told them that volunteer work was not only valuable to have on a resume, but also one of the best ways to gain work experience in Canada.  For many, “paid” work experience seemed to be the only valued work experience they had known.  So, when I mentioned to my class that employers like to see volunteer experience on resumes and hear about it in job interviews, students started asking how they could do it.

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What I Did on My Summer Vacations

Image Source: Patrice Palmer
Palmer, second from left, with staff of Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce Training Centre, 2017.





Do you remember having to write about your summer vacation on your first day back to school?  It doesn’t seem like a very original topic, but I want to share my experience as a volunteer in Honduras, Ethiopia, and Guyana with Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO).  You are probably wondering how this happened since I’m an ESL teacher, not an executive.  Let me explain. 

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On Assignment (An ESL Interview)

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I recently completed an assignment as part of an interview process for an ESL teaching position. This is the first time I was asked to do something like this and I enjoyed completing the assignment immensely because it put my teaching to good use and also demonstrated my abilities. It really gave me a chance to shine.

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Is your Time Being Fully Compensated as an ESL/LINC Teacher?

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How much work are you doing for free? Five minutes here and there, hours of PBLA prep time? The employees at our settlement company decided by a vote of 70% that we were going to unionize. I joined the collective bargaining team and found the experience quite an eye opener.

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Why I became a teacher now, not then

I recently got certified as an adult ESL teacher, more than a decade after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English. Although teaching had been an option in the past, I decided to pursue other avenues—and I’m glad I did.

image source: Svjetlana Vrbanic

Over the years, I had many great experiences, learned many things, and acquired skills that make me a better teacher today. There truly are many different roads to teaching and I would like to share mine.

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The “Good Old Days” Are History

For many of us, our parents or grandparents graduated from high school, walked into a permanent full-time job, and stayed there until retirement. That’s not the case for the majority of people these days.

Many ESL professionals are on short-term contracts, working at multiple locations, or looking for their next way to earn a living. TESL Ontario makes every effort to stay relevant for its members, and a recent member survey showed the need for this topic to be addressed. Continue reading

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Ace the Interview: Using the SPARK-Technique to Stand Out from the Crowd

Group Of Diverse People Waiting For Job Interview In Office
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Congratulations! You have razzle-dazzled the department manager with your small-talk skills and your memorable elevator pitch and have received the exciting news that you have a job interview. After giving yourself that well-deserved pat on the back, you realize that it’s time to start preparing. You set out to craft the most powerful and impactful answers that will not only impress your audience, but will also demonstrate how you CAN and WILL add tremendous value to their company. What might that answer look like? Continue reading

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The 30-Second Elevator Pitch – The Necessary Evil

African american businesswoman with briefcase talking to man by elevator
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To be remembered, you must first make yourself memorable.

To fully understand the power of a great elevator pitch, I first have to come clean with you. After many years of teaching Business English in Korea and China, I returned to an oversaturated ESL / ELT job market, filled with passionate and qualified language instructors who were all vying for the same jobs; yet, I had to compete in an environment where I had no network, no one to sing my professional praises, no advantage of native “Englishness”, and no real understanding of how to sell myself. Six jobless months passed, and I knew it was time to finally take stock. Clearly, it was me, not them and, with this humbling realization, I set out to Continue reading

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Mastering Small Talk: Conversations That Get You Noticed and Rewarded!

two people making conversation
Image source: https://www.staffmanagement.com/mastering-small-talk/

Close your eyes for a minute and picture being at a networking event, and the manager of the school you’ve been dying to work at walks up to you and strikes up a conversation.  The first think you do after saying hello is effortlessly introduce yourself with your well-crafted and powerfully supported elevator pitch but, with that finished, what do you do now? Your mind goes blank, and you see the manager starting to shift her body away from you.  You’re losing her and, with each passing second, your opportunity at a future interview starts to disappear. In that moment, how could you have saved the conversation?

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