leadership/management Tyson Seburn  

#eltjob? a chat about ELT employment

Today on Twitter, I noticed another chat hashtag #edhire, thanks to Lisa Dabbs (@teachingwithsoul), which from what I initially gathered is a chance for teachers to discuss tips for gaining employment within the K-12 system.  This gave me an idea and I’d like to gauge interest.

With the ELT industry employment in Canada shifting from one sector to another partially because of federal funding decreases, many teachers find themselves seeking new work.  This can be very challenging after having taught in one school or one sector of ELT for several years.  Training courses like CELTA and TESL Canada & Ontario continue to churn out hopeful graduates into a market that at its best is unstable.  I’m sure this phenomenon is not isolated to Canada.

Although there is some attempt to realistically portray employment opportunities, like TESL Toronto’s March Employment Evening, Careers and Q&A pages, many applicants don’t get the real feedback they need.

The #edhire hashtag inspired an idea of providing online opportunity for dialogue to occur between potential employers, seasoned teachers, recently unemployed and new graduates.  This chat, if participants exist, could give these four groups a chance to ask and answer questions about resume-tailoring, interview techniques, experience expectations and dare I say, direct communication between employers and candidates.  Imagine a weekly, biweekly, or monthly opportunity to help enable great language teachers to gain great positions locally or globally.  But I wonder:

  • Are employers/hirers/seasoned teachers on Twitter and willing to help?  (click to help me suss this out)
  • Are ELT teachers on Twitter looking for employment or are we the lucky employed?

Being someone who both hires teachers and has been around the ELT block for a while, I would be happy to help out in this discussion.  Anyone else out there?

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12 thoughts on “#eltjob? a chat about ELT employment

  1. Edu Santos (@eltbakery)

    I would suggest teachers looking for jobs to join linkedin and search for jobs there in specific groups like Internatonl Teacher Recruitment.

    1. seburnt

      Really? I almost never even log in to Linkedin. Maybe that’s because I am employed. Still, does the opportunity to talk about employment issues happen there too? I know some groups have discussion, but then the same could be about general ELT too.

  2. Ellen

    There’s a discussion on TESL Ontario Linkedin page now regarding the oversaturation of the ESL teaching market. I’m curious to see if anyone from TESL Ontario will actually wade in.

    1. seburnt

      It seems rare to discourage anyone from trying their hand at our industry. I’m assuming the reason is financial, both not to and to.

  3. Ashley

    I think this is a great discussion that needs to take place on Twitter, but I often wonder how many actual employers are on Twitter. Most people I connect with seem to be just fellow teachers. I hope I’m wrong and that people are open to this kind of discussion!

    1. seburnt

      Agreed. I wonder the same myself, which is why I set up the poll included in the post. No sense in having the part of the conversation that connects teachers with employers if none are there, right?

  4. Vicky Loras

    Hi Tyson!

    Another great idea from you. Once I saw it, it struck a chord as I was unemployed for ten months at the end of 2009 until mid-2010. It was one of the worst periods in my whole life and I really wish there had been an idea like that back then (I had just started out on Twitter). It is a great idea to help out people who need it now! I can only imagine it will do great things for people and count me in if you are doing something and would like me to pitch in.

    When we had our school in Greece, my sisters and I used to do the hiring (since it was our school ; ) and I learned a whole lot from that process.

    Edu mentioned above that people are hired via LinkedIn – I never thought it would work like that, until I got two job offers (even though I did not need a job then) from people who had seen my profile. And I know lots of people who have had the same experience.

    Switzerland is not going through a crisis, as it is not in the eurozone, but the government here always likes to be proactive – so I realise when there is a problem elsewhere, not only from the news, but then jobs suddenly disappear. I see now that schools are not hiring as they used to the past months, because the rest of Europe is in turmoil.

    By the way, I have also voted in the poll : )


    1. seburnt

      I would like to see something like this happen, but I’m not convinced unemployed teachers and willing employers are actually on Twitter.

      1. Vicky Loras

        I have seen a couple of educators with “unemployed” or “laid off” in their Twitter profiles. There should be more. Plus, there a a lot of recruiting agencies/companies on Twitter. It could work out, I think.

        1. seburnt

          Ok – I’m sure you’re right. I think it may be best just to start using the hashtag without the organised chat, just to get it out there. I’ve learned from #eapchat that if people don’t see the hashtag when you are online (not when you have the chat), they don’t even know it exists.

  5. whippler

    I’m in Ireland and have worked in a few private schools as a English Language Teacher here. There are no bottom-up teacher organisations for teachers. I wonder how your event is organised? Meetings like this would be great, but most teachers avoid thinking of this as the job they will retire in. Instead we live season to season. Many certified teachers can only find work seasonally as hiring (and occasional staffing) are done as required with frighteningly flexible “contracts”.

    When the summer ends, many go back on the dole until the late spring when more younger students come back. In essence the government subsidizes the schools by paying their loyal and hopeful staff for the time they have to take off. There is no other government assistance to the industry here, so the schools that do manage to stay open year-round are obviously well-organised and run by ambitious directors and owners. But they can’t commit to most of their teachers because the numbers of students are so up-and-down. It’s tough for both the teachers and directors/owners who both have pretty precarious positions, relatively. The directors won’t be going on the dole and the owners can sell off buildings. Those most at risk quite superstitiously talk about it least. Making student numbers more reliable is what every one would like. Oh Canada, tell us who’s organizing and how you are running communications. Is it goverment-led?

    1. seburnt

      Which ‘event’ are you asking about how we organise it? The main idea of my post would take place on Twitter, much like any of the #eltchat or #eapchat already do. Interested parties log on and discuss an issue, this time related to employment.

      I’m not really surprised to hear about the context in Ireland. There are many younger teachers here who do not expect this career to last or are doing it to fund another love (e.g. music). I’m happy to report though that this isn’t the majority. Of course, being frank about employment opportunities and job stability is a necessary discussion to have for those considering a move into the ELT industry–it’s just not recommended if you’ve already got dependents.

      One difference between what you describe and here in Canada is that though many teachers are hired sessionally (or seasonally), they are ineligible for government welfare because of the length of the contracts. It’s very unlikely that even if they were, there would be enough coming in from the dole to survive 8 months of the year.

      As far as the TESL organisations go, ours are partially government funded and partially funded from membership fees.

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