Our HR specialist wrote this article to help anyone who wants to teach English in Canada to get the best teaching jobs! Learn to write a TESL specific resume and cover letter, and stand out at the job interview!
The Resume and Cover Letter
It can be difficult to break into a new area of work, but there are some things you can do to get the chance to prove that you can be an excellent teacher. On your resume, highlight any experience that is directly relevant to the job. If you haven’t taught before, provide details about your TESL Canada training experience (what you learned, your successes, etc). In your cover letter, be as specific as possible about your teaching skills and how they’ve helped students achieve success in the past, even if you’re speaking of the students who participated in your practicum. Being able to reflect on your teaching experience will show that you have insight into your role, and that you care about your work.
A large part of a teacher’s role is to make his or her students feel comfortable, so be relaxed and confident. Preparing yourself to elaborate on your resume and cover letter, and brushing up on your grammar lingo will go a long way in helping you to relax and remain mentally present throughout the interview. Doing research about the school will allow you to get a sense of its curriculum, pedagogical values, and work culture, and it will show your interviewer that you understand what is important to him or her in a teacher.
One of the easiest ways for schools to screen for unprepared teachers is to ask about teaching grammar. Grammar teaching skills continue to be seen as the most fundamental in a TESOL teacher’s toolkit, so be prepared to field some questions that will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of how to make grammar lessons comprehensible and interesting. I’ve been asked to explain, for example, how I would introduce the present perfect in a one-hour grammar class and which communicative activities would help students practice the use of relative clauses. Keep the ‘presentation’ ‘practice’ and ‘production’ model in mind; it will help you to organize your thoughts and present a balanced plan.
Over the course of the interview, it’s important that you show yourself to have, besides fundamental teaching skills, a dynamic range of abilities and interests. The school may need someone to MC their graduation ceremonies, or instruct an after school drama elective, so making mention of your experience with improv might prove helpful. If you are interested in a specific aspect of teaching, such as integrating social media into language study, share your passion with the interviewer and provide examples of how it might benefit the school.
It may take some time for employers to get back to you, because the hiring of new teachers all depends on enrollment numbers, which are always changing. If you don’t get a response within two weeks, it might be worthwhile to send a quick follow-up email reminding them of your interest. Your reminder might come at a time when the school may have a sudden need for new teachers; timing, you’ll find, is very important – There are many language schools in Canada and they get very busy in January, May, and June-.