TESL Ontario – Conference Blog: Career Booster

By Kiara Y.R. Kim, Resource Development Assistant

The Career Booster Forum held on Thursday, November 9, 2023, from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, attracted participants eager to gain insights into employer expectations, resume-building, and effective interview practices. The event featured seasoned professionals sharing employment opportunities as well as their hiring expertise to empower new adult ESL teachers.

Employability at St. Charles

The St. Charles Adult and Continuing Education Centre offers programs in a number of categories which include English language instruction: ESL/LINC classes, citizenship, IELTS, English for Everyday Living, Care for Newcomer Children (CNC), and VISITORs. Holly Bartoszek (Supervisor) and Melita Vrakela (Lead Instructor), both from the ESL/LINC program at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB), provided a detailed presentation of employment opportunities and hiring expectations at St. Charles. Successful candidates would begin on the supply list, then apply for permanent positions that become available. Some of the qualifications outlined included:

  • TESL Ontario Certified (OCELT)
  • Ability to instruct ESL according to CLB
  • Familiarity with PBLA
  • Evaluate student learning outcomes on an ongoing basis
  • Engage in accurate St. Charles reporting process

Assessment Pathways at YMCA

Mitra Neshat, Manager of Language Assessment and Referral Centre at YMCA of Greater Toronto, delved into the importance of introducing newcomers to the Coordinated Language Assessment and Referral System (CLARS) Centres. CLARS is a comprehensive system for language assessment and referral to government-funded language learning pathways. Each year, the YMCA assesses 300 000+ newcomers to Canada. Language assessors at the YMCA are responsible for administering Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) learning assessments and referring clients to partner language service providers. Mitra outlined the qualifications sought in the YMCA Language Assessors:


  • Professional resume
  • TESL Ontario accreditation
  • Experience teaching ESL to adults (300 hours minimum)
  • Post-secondary education in a related field
  • Excellent interview, communications, and assessment skills
  • Flexibility regarding assigned work hours and locations
  • Proficient with computer applications (ie., Microsoft Outlook, Internet search engines, etc)
  • Competency in accountability, relationship-building, teamwork


  • CLB bootcamp certificate
  • Knowledge of settlement sector
  • Proficiency in a second language
  • Certification in standardized assessment tools

In addition to this, Mitra emphasized the importance of digital skills that can “give a voice to assessors and newcomers with barriers” including proficiency in video conferencing software, and assistive devices, which the Centre uses.

To stand out from the crowd, Mitra recommended “learning about the history and current programs offered at the YMCA as well as in the settlement sector. Familiarize yourself with the role of the CLB in assessment by completing a CLB Bootcamp Certificate. And understanding the value of both the assessment and non-assessment roles of the position. Be the one who makes the difference.

Interview Tips from Corinne Whitney

Corinne Whitney, Manager of Liberal Arts – English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at Georgian College shared valuable insights for ESL educators interviewing at colleges or public institutions. Her top 10 list for standing out at an interview included:

  • Having the right qualifications: university degree, TESL Ontario (OCELT), TESL Canada (Standard 2), Equivalent CELTA or DELTA
  • Lived experience: post-secondary, community, international experiences that shaped you and your values
  • Demonstrable commitments to EDI
  • Empathy, interpersonal prowess, and receptiveness to feedback
  • Creative communication: authentic learning, meaningful purpose, engaging platforms, UDL practices
  • Digital literacy and skills
  • Forward thinking; examples of life-long learning, innovation, problem-solving
  • An extra “something-something”; positive mindset, flexibility, open-mindedness
  • Student-centered mindset

The best piece of advice I can give is that teaching really is a blend of techniques, but it is also about who you are and your personal identity.


The Career Booster Forum provided a rich platform for participants to gain valuable insights from experienced educators and recruitment managers. The presentations offered practical advice, fostering a deeper understanding of employer expectations and empowering ELT professionals on their career journey.

Visit the TESL Career Centre for a recording of the Career Connections webinar and other essential resources designed to help you navigate the English language education employment landscape. 

Kiara Kim is the Resource Development Assistant at TESL Ontario for summer 2023. She is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, Mississauga, with an HBSc in Anthropology. Throughout her undergrad, she worked actively within university programming and various community research projects in fields of anthropology of health, historical archeology and English language education. She is looking forward to furthering her intersecting interests in research and education.


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