Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Interviewing Schools.

So I've interviewed a few schools for jobs lately. I know I should say 'I've been interviewed' but I really feel it's the other way around. I know this sounds conceited but I also think 5 years of varied experience and a masters degree have earned me the right to a little conceit. I have had a reply and interview offer from every school I sent my resume to, I think (except the university, but I didn't really expect to get a course lecturer position - and knowing the speed universities work at, I'll probably get a reply about when I'm ready to leave Montreal). Every interview I've had, I have been offered the job (I've always interviewed well, so this has been happening for a while). So the interviews have become more about me tactfully finding out the pay and conditions, and then deciding if I want to work for them or not. And most often, it has been 'not'.
The pay here is some of the worst I've seen. It seems to start at $13 an hour. I think minimum wage is $9. The lowest I've been offered is $16. The job I have so far accepted (which might not be 'THE job' as I'm still going to interviews) is $21, which is the best I've so far encountered. And they seem to be going to offer me enough hours. Living here is pretty cheap, and my lifestyle is, as always rather economical, so I've worked out that I only have to work 3 days a week to live quite comfortably. And I've been offered three days with the school I'm already doing a few hours for, so it looks like I'll have 4 day weekends! Which is nice! And I can do relief and one-off courses on Mondays and Fridays for extra pocketmoney, if I like.
I do, however, have an interview this week for a possible part-time management job at a school. I like the sound of this. I like management! And part time management means I might still be able to teach a few classes, which is the sort of balance I've been wanting for a while now.

I do find it a little depressing to realise that, although I became an ESL teacher 5 and a half years ago purely for the purpose of travelling, the best job I've ever had, and the best pay I'm likely to find, is in my own home town. I'm beginning to think I should start working a few months every year at one of the universities in Brisbane for the money, and just travel part of each year. It could be a rather enjoyable lifestyle, I think!
But anyway, providing my current available cash survives until one of these schools actually pay me, it looks like I won't starve to death here, and will survive quite nicely until June, when I'm heading back to Europe and my summer job. And who knows what after!

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Monday, January 07, 2008

See! It's Official!

Only six months after I graduate, and I finally get to set eyes on my Masters diploma. Or at least, on a scanned copy of it. I really do wish QUT would make their certificates a nice, portable A4 size, like my UQ undergrad one. The table-sized QUT ones (I now have two!) are just impractical!
But anyway, let me just say, in my most professional manner: YayYayYayYay!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Frustrated Rant

I found an ad for a job that sounded really exciting quite by accident. I was browsing the Tefl.com database, looking for a job for a friend, and I found this job in Morocco just for 2 months, with the British Council! It sounded great! Short term, interesting place, good school etc, etc. So I applied. And then, three days after they said they would get back to me, I got a polite rejection letter, which included an invitation to ask what was lacking in my application and the reason for my rejection. So I did - I figured I should know for next time, right?
I got a reply today - I was rejected because I didn't have a CELTA or CELTA equivalent qualification. I thought 'Oh! is *that* all!' and quickly sent of a reply saying that I'm sorry it wasn't clear from my application, but I do have a CELTA equivalent, with the required number of teaching hours and observed prac hours and that I had previously had it approved by the British Council, so it was all ok, and if it wasn't too late, I'd love to still be considered for the job.
A few hours later, I got another reply, saying that the only equivalent that he would recognise without having to call central recruiting (or something) was the Trinity certificate. So basically, he can't be bothered doing this tiny bit of work required to check if my certificate is ok. And their advertisement of 'CELTA *or equivalent* required' should really read 'CELTA or Trinity Certificate required'. I've written a response but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to send it, just so I can re-read it and check it isn't too insulting.
Basically, I feel needlessly discriminated against. This has happened before - I have received rejection emails from BC affiliated summer schools in the UK that were actually rude - how dare I waste their time by applying when I only have a "sub-standard" qualification. Luckily, when I applied for Lines, they were nice enough to take a second look, or something, and willing to fill out the ONE form with TWO questions on it (form 4.7 of the BC handbook, I think) and approve my qualification.
Yes, that's right, MY CERTIFICATE IS *ALREADY* APPROVED BY THE BC, so it's not like I'm just trying my luck.
And, anyway, I thought getting my Masters degree in TESOL would solve this problem, and mean that my old cert TESOL didn't matter so much.
Apparently I was wrong.
Yay for bureaucracy and narrow mindedness.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Yet Another Student Blog

I'm becoming known as the Blog Queen. I should get commission from blogger.
I started working here at the school I blogged about before - the one with the smartboards in every classroom. I've nearly finished my second week, which was going to be my last week, as I've decided I really have to get to Montreal before it snows, but I've just been talked into a 3rd week by the DoS. It's not his fault - management fired someone last week without really consulting anyone, and another teacher just stopped showing up yesterday, so this week is not a good time to leave on short notice.
However. In the last session each day, students get to choose an elective, such as pronunciation, grammar, etc. And I've just started a new elective - A Student Social Club. The aim is to develop this blog that keeps the other students informed of what is happening in Vancouver, as well as being a resource on things like the good restaurants, clubs, shops etc to go to. It can also be used for organising student events, like dinners and nights out. We started it on Tuesday, today is Thursday and there are only 4 students in the class, but we already have a heap of stuff there. I love the concept - I just hope they manage to keep it up after I leave!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Do I want to stay in Vancouver?

I've had a few interviews this week, and I've just been offered a 'trial' class for a week (only 1.5 hours a day, but that's ok). The director was great - immediately said my piercing was cool (unlike the middle aged korean business man who took one look at me and I knew I wasn't going to be offered the job) and asked about it, grew up in tibet, is an energy healer, soul channeller (I have no idea what that means) and personal trainer, and appears to just direct a college in his spare time. The school is in the scenic Gastown part of downtown, not the korea town/ESL ghetto part, which is nice. It's also equipped with smart boards in every classroom and he's keen to find people willing to develop the possibilities with those. I'm really keen on the job. I'm also really concerned that I'm going to get a job I love and not want to leave it. But I've got to go live in Montreal, dammit! I found myself explaining that I was unreliable when it comes to staying in one place, and that I might want to live in Montreal, and he said 'wow, I'd choose montreal over here!' And then assured me that as long as I gave notice, it wouldn't matter, and he was fine with it. Which makes me inclined to take the job. But then, I might be offered another job that starts full time on monday. So I'd earn more in the 4 or 5 weeks I'm planning to stay here. But then, they were very keen for long term people... argh! I think the smart boards and interesting director wins out, myself. Also, the recruiter for the other college was called 'Shmuel' and and I don't know how many times I could say that with a straight face...
So I said I was pretty sure I wanted this job. It sounds exciting. Even for $20 an hour, which is a good going rate here (I've seen $10 and $15), unless you're lucky enough to get a tech-college job that sounds a lot like TAFE. Which isn't going to happen this week.
I *WILL* go to Montreal. I will, I tell you!

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And next year...

So it's the last week of Lines, and now that we have some idea of what we are doing, everything is running smoothly. Just in time for it to finish, as per usual.
And of course, that means it is also the time to start talking about next year. And that happened today. I've been offered the job of Academic Director for next year. That means designing, or at least re-designing, tinkering and improving, the whole academic program for Queenswood for next year. And then running it. Which sounds like fun, now that I have some idea of what I'm doing. And most of the people who are here now running various parts of the school (Centre Manager, Activities Organiser, etc) will be here in similar roles again next year, so we should all know what we're doing. And it's nice when people know what they are doing.
I'd better go do something I know how to do - more of my E-Comm Blog, I think.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

An Electronic Communications Course

So now that it's week three, and the summer school seems to be pretty much set up, and everything is running more or less smoothly, I have a little bit of time to do things like write to this blog. I have been on Blogger daily, but working on The Official Lines E-Comm Teachers' Blog.
The first two weeks of the course was a shambles, I have to say. We had 20 teenagers in each computer room with 12 computers for 90 minutes a day (x4 classes). It was a cattle market. Every lesson was a struggle, and neither Kamil (my partner teacher) nor I, nor the students, nor the teachers who had to sit in to 'help' were having fun. It was Not Good.
So we reworked the whole program. Students have 45 minutes a day with the computers and us, and 45 minutes working on planning & correcting their work in the classroom with their own class teachers. This means that we only have a max of 10 students in each computer room at a time, which is far, FAR better. We've had to plan the 'prep' lessons for the class teachers as well of course, but it's worked out ok so far.
We've made it a quite self-directed program. The idea is that the students choose what they want to work on (apart from the blog and class computer dictionary which are compulsory) and work steadily on their own or in small groups, with the language support and corrections coming from their class teacher, and the tech support from us. The blog has a whole lot of 'how to' posts, linked from the sidebar, so they can work out how to do most things themselves. And as for what they learn, the idea is that it's computer stuff, but also communication & language things. Have a look at the side bar of the blog to see the how-to's and the list of projects we've given them to choose from. In fact, the blog has everything. It's pretty much the whole program, online. It's so cool!

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