TESL Teacher To TESL Ontario Intern

As I finished my TESL program at Conestoga College this academic year and was in the process of applying for my OCELT Certification at TESL Ontario, an email popped up from our program head about a summer opportunity with TESL Ontario. Fast-forward nine weeks and here I am, feeling deeply connected and grateful for this opportunity, not to mention highly impacted by this team of individuals. 

My tasks were relatively straightforward: help organize content for a new TESL Career Centre that will launch this fall, as well as organize existing general TESL resources and content into relevant collection categories to enable teachers to find resources with ease. I’m grateful that I was not only able to accomplish all of these tasks, but that I also learned a lot about career success and available resources during my summer employment at TESL Ontario. I am thrilled to share some of what I learned.

The career centre is being developed to provide new TESL graduates and other TESL educators with the tools required to be successful in their job search and navigate employment in the TESL education field.

As I was working on organizing and creating content for this new resource, one idea that became reinforced in my mind was that employees excel at their job when their employers make an active plan for their success. What I loved most about the TESL Ontario staff is that they gave guidance and then “handed me the reigns” to make my own way. They encouraged me to take risks and make my own contributions. For me, that meant creating an online remote employment opportunities resource with an accompanying video, as well as this blog post.  

To curate Career Centre video content, I had the opportunity to meet with hiring managers, education consultants, college & university professors, as well as experienced TESL professionals. During the time spent with these various presenters, I was able to learn many career success strategies, including:

  • LinkedIn is an excellent job search engine
  • Networking is the key to success in our search for employment
  • Creating an E-Portfolio to market yourself in the TESL field is important
  • There are many free upskilling PD opportunities from The Centre of Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB)
  • There are many variations of part-time employment, and it’s important to understand the different opportunities out there

Most of all, and what was heart-warming to me, was that these extraordinary individuals let a stranger come in and work with them on creating career development content. Even on my last day, these TESL community members were sending me well wishes. This emphasizes how close-knit and supportive the teaching community is and the importance of contributing to and supporting TESL Ontario.

So, what new resources did we produce? I encourage you to check these out for yourself! The new Career Boosts videos are already available on our YouTube channel as a “TESL Career Resources” playlist, and the rest of the content will be available when the TESL Career Centre launches in the coming weeks.

If you’ve ever wondered about the significance and the benefits of your OCELT designation and certification, or even where and how your membership fee gets distributed, you should know that TESL Ontario does not just offer certification services. The association provides its members with incredible professional development opportunities, including webinars and live discussions, to sharpen one’s skills and create true connections to the community. TESL Ontario also offers an annual three-day conference which includes panels, technology sessions, and a Career Connections component that includes a career fair and a career-booster forum.

A key aspect in a successful teaching career is the importance of collaboration. This is demonstrated in TESL Ontario quite beautifully, where every member makes time to support their colleagues. This is a team that jumps in to support each other in areas where support is needed – while also being a team that acknowledges each other’s strengths. Everyone was always available for support, which is particularly crucial when working remotely. It was great to see messages and emails from staff, just saying they were checking in on me.

This summer at TESL Ontario has brought meaningful connections to my professional sphere that will continue to enhance my career. I strongly urge everyone to check out the new TESL Career Centre and our collections of valuable content when it launches this fall. I recommend participating in all of our professional development events and the conference. 

A career in TESL is exceptional, especially when you have an association that cares about the development of their members.

Sannah Sheik is an energetic and emerging ESL Instructor in both LINC and EAP Adult Education Environment. Striving to making Second Language Acquisition as effortless as possible, so students focus on all their potential.

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