Teaching English in Vancouver
Replies: 28 - Last Post: Mar 25, 2012 4:40 AM Last Post By: sprite
Mar 16, 2012 8:49 AM
Teaching English in VancouverHi Guys,
I'm a 27 year old writer from the UK. I'm just nearing the end of my TEFL course and I am exploring the option of moving to Vancouver later this year to teach English. Ideally, I'd be looking for a job in a Language School, as well as potentially doing some private tuition if possible.
I was wondering if anyone has done it or is doing it, and if they can share any advice? Obviously being an English-speaking country (well the British Columbia part is anyway), I can't imagine the demand is anywhere near as much as Western Europe or South East Asia, but is there a demand for it? Depending on my situation, I may have to go there without a job and then go door-to-door handing out CVs upon my arrival, but obviously I want to make sure i'm doing the right thing before I make such a huge life-changing decision!
Any advice would be appreciated.
Edited by: oliross100
Mar 16, 2012 9:41 AM
1I don't think there is a demand for this. You might be able to get a volunteer job. Honestly, there's so many ways to get free English training in Canada that I don't know why anyone would pay for it ...
Mar 16, 2012 1:13 PM
2There's certainly a demand for English training. This supplied in large part by the many no-cost resources out there to immigrants. So, there is little demand for paid/private English training, which is what I was referring to.
It's free to the students, and many teachers are volunteers. It's a given that this is possible due to government funding. Your point is irrelevant. This person is looking for paid work.
Edited by: embean
Mar 16, 2012 6:59 PM
There certainly are jobs for teaching English as a second language in Vancouver. However, I don't know for sure, but I suspect jobs they are quite competitive. If you don't have any experience, I think you'll be hard pressed to find a job.
I would imagine that most people who fill the jobs taught overseas first, then finding a job such as this in Vancouver.
Again, I don't know for sure, but I think that without experience, you'd be fighting an uphill battle in a place like Vancouver for this kind of job.
Mar 16, 2012 8:03 PM
4My aunt was a kindergarten teacher here in BC. When she retired she worked as an English teacher at a private language school. Her students were Asian students. As well as teaching at the school many of her students engaged her privately as well. When she retired again - this time from the language school she continued to work privately as the parents of her Asian students passed her name and number around.
Which is all to say, there IS a demand in Vancouver and up the valley (she lived in Abbotsford) for English teachers.
Mar 16, 2012 8:32 PM
5I used to work for a tour company that exclusively worked with the dozens of private ESL schools in Vancouver. Students from all over the world come to Vancouver to learn English - they come from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, France, Switzerland, and Germany... predominantly. There are literally thousands of ESL students in Vancouver. Some come for one year. Others come for 6 months. All want to learn English and see/experience Canada and the USA.
Saying that, I wouldn't necessarily say that teaching jobs are in demand, but they should be relatively easy to come by if you persevere. The only thing is, I really don't think they pay that well, and Vancouver's one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, especially when your wages are so low.
Another issue might be your accent. It shouldn't technically be an issue, but since it is ESL, teaching North American-style pronunciation might be what's preferred by the schools.
Mar 16, 2012 11:49 PM
Mar 17, 2012 3:05 AM
7Thanks to everyone for their replies so far - much appreciated.
I reckon the best/perhaps only way to get a job there would be to go over to Vancouver and go face-to-face CV dropping in the ESL Language Schools. In terms of qualifications, I could maybe sign up to do a CELTA (or Canadian equivalent) at a School there. This way I'd have better qualifications, but would also hopefully make some useful contacts who might be able to help me out.
The pay will be an issue. I'd have to try and supplement it with private tuition or just another job, which won't be easy....
I can't think of anything better that living in Vancouver, but i'm getting demoralised by the seemingly difficult task I've set myself. Balls.
Mar 17, 2012 7:31 AM
8No need for a CELTA just some experience with your TEFL, assuming that you have a degree, otherwise it will be a tough row to hoe anywhere in the world.
Being in-country & handing out CV's is standard procedure the world over also.
I can think of a few thousand things better than living in Vancouver but if that's your thing, go for it & remember nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
Mar 18, 2012 10:19 AM
9I'm assuming you'll have a working holiday visa or something; you won't be able to find work under the table.
As a Canadian who taught in Italy for several years (amongst a sea of Brits) I would also like to point out that most students in Vancouver are expecting their teachers to have North American accents. Your immediate, defensive thought is probably, "Well, it would be good for them to hear a UK accent!" Maybe it would, I don't care. But it could negatively impact your employment opportunities.
Check this site: http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewforum.php?f=8&sid=dd736b58b716443ae0265c97119e89b8
Mar 18, 2012 1:45 PM
10It's illegal to discriminate when hiring in Canada so accent is not a drawback.
Mar 18, 2012 2:47 PM
11I saw dozen of private English Language Schools in downtown Vancouver with large groups of foreign students milling about or going for lunch or walks or who knows what.
Mar 19, 2012 3:31 AM
12#13 please explain what a "Canadian" accent is.
I've heard Newfoundlanders with accents far less intelligible than Brits or how about the Indian lady answering the phone at any government office, that you can't understand, tell her she's not Canadian & you'll find yourself in one of those lawsuits you're talking about.
Or how about the native Canadian Indian lady on welfare who the government office won't hire, does she not have a "Canadian" accent, her ancestors were stewards of this land long before yours were even aware of it's existence & came across the pond to steal, rape & pillage it.
Which accent does your highness deem Canadian?
Mar 19, 2012 8:01 AM
13#15. Maybe you are from Canada, but a Canadian accent is very similar to an American accent. It is quite different than for example queen's English from England. If you travel a little bit you will frequently come across people who have learned English from different types of English speakers. You may be able to pick up for instance if someone has studied under someone from Australia or South Africa. Next time you travel - have a listen and you'll hear what I mean.
Mar 19, 2012 10:53 AM
14Yes, there is a Canadian accent. We all have an "accent". I am Canadian, born and raised on the west coast. When I travel in other parts of the world, or even in the deep south of the USA, I've had people comment on my "accent". The first time I heard that I responded with "I don't have an accent! I am just a non-descript, no-accent Canadian". But of course that is not true.
We ALL have an accent. Even within Canada there are vast differences in the inflections, stresses placed on different syllables of the words between a west coaster like myself and at the most extreme, a Newfoundlander or a Quebecois. We are all Canadian. The woman picking up the phone in a government office who has an Indian accent may be Canadian by citizenship but her accent advertises the place of her birth and rearing. I expect that someone from India hearing her would even be able to pick out in which part of India she came from just as I can pick out a Maratimer or a Quebecois in a sentence or less.
Last summer I spent some time in northern Sask and Manitoba with relatives born and bred there - they too have a distinct accent. In the polyglot cities like Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, where we are exposed to people who've moved here from all over Canada the accents tend to merge and become a similar "Canadian" sound, but if you go to the backwaters where people have lived their whole lives over many generations the distinct inflections and terminology can be picked up quite easily.
Just as it is in the US. As a west coaster with American relatives in Washington/Oregon I don't hear any difference between myself and then, although they will tell you that I use some British inflections and terminology. Whether that is Canadian-ness or peculiar to me, having lived in Britain and longtime exposure to British relatives, I don't know. But there is a vast difference, for example in the sound between an American west coaster and a Bostonian or a Texan or someone from the deep south.
To some people this matters. So if someone is sending their son or daughter to Vancouver to learn English, I am assuming the accent they think they are paying for is something west coast Canadian, not a Maritime or Quebecois accent. Certainly not a British accent. On the other hand, those parents that send their kids to learn English in Australia or Britain or Newfoundland or Quebec, they would expect their kid's English to come out of their mouth sounding like they come from there. When I was in Hong Kong I was endlessly amused to meet up with local kids who'd been sent to Australia for their English. It just sounded so weird to me, to have these very Chinese kids open their mouths and have "Aussie speak" come pouring out. When you think about it, it's no more weird than having them speak with any other kind of accent but it always gave me the giggles because it was so unexpected. The point though, is that instantly identified where they had learned their English.
In Asia I have often booked local tours to see sites out of town. I always ask for an English-speaking guide and I am always assured that this or that guide has impeccable credentials. The problem, however, is that quite often these guides have learned their English in a local language college, taught by locals with their own Cambodian or Vietnamese, etc accent layered onto the English words. If they really slow down and enunciate their words I can understand what they are saying, but if they rattle on at a hundred miles an hour they might as well be speaking Laotian. Until I had this repeatedly happen it never occurred to me what a communications issue this could be. When we were in Ecuador last spring we had a guide whose English was very easy to understand. I asked him about this. He told me that local language schools with local teachers are relatively cheap. However, going to a school that boasted native-born English speakers from overseas was very expensive. He was aware of the accent issue though and had paid a lot more for his lessons ....that and buttonholing every foreigner in the central plazas eh could find who would speak English to him and help him with his pronounciation.
But it's not just non-English speaking countries. Even in Newfoundland I had a tortuous interchange with a pharmacist trying to understand his direction to me on some meds. Or England. When I was 20 I interviewed for a job with a fellow that I later learned was from the midlands. I could barely understand half of what he said. I finally just kept nodding and he gave me the job. I had no idea what I was agreeing to but it worked out.
I don't know if any of this matters to those parents but the language schools themselves would be ones to answer that question.
I'm not understanding your hostility - I've never been called "your highness" by anyone but my kids :) And that's just because I claim the royal rights to putting my car in the garage in the winter - from my perspective that is more about my having paid the mortgage on that garage than an actual belief in royal perogative but that's fine too.
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