The Canadian job market is very competitive and jobs are not easy to find. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country. There are many ways through which you can search for jobs in the education sector.
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers.
- Seek out a mentor in the teaching sector – for example, a retired teacher – who would give you valuable insight and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
- Join teaching related job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend teaching related career/job fairs and regularly the employment sections of your local newspapers. For more information on job finding techniques, click here.
We have prepared a Pre-Arrival Checklist of valuable information that will make arriving in Canada as smooth a process as possible.
Immigrant settlement agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.
You can improve your chances of getting employment and attract better opportunities by polishing your resume using these career specific tips:
Certification – List your certification and any other endorsements. Include dates and expected dates.
Experience – You may break this section into separate subheadings such as teaching, related and work experience. Experience can be paid or unpaid; include internships, observation experience, classroom management skills/strategies, teaching methods used, experience with students with special needs and interactions with parents. Individual experiences are usually listed in reverse chronological order. Use action verbs and use specific details such as grade levels taught, class size and any other information that will help a reader visualize you in that experience. Include job title, name of school and dates for each position.
The following are strengths and experiences you might consider including in your resume if they apply to you: experience with kids, coaching, babysitting, teaching swimming lessons, skiing or any subject or area of interest, management roles as they pertain to training, training in any area or subject, public speaking, acting experience as it applies to teaching, art experience as it applies to teaching, music experience as it applies to teaching.
Passion – Make sure you demonstrate your passion for teaching by incorporating your teaching philosophy in your resume. As well, it needs to communicate your commitment to student success, teaching and learning.
Credentials – You are in the education business, so it makes sense that you use a resume strategy that highlights your academic credentials. So include your credentials, certifications and degrees on the first page under your opening resume profile. You can mention your most important teaching credentials in your qualifications summary, which can be part of your Objective field.
Accomplishments – A teacher’s resume must have strong accomplishments.Especially as a newcomer, you can include accomplishments from back home or in Canada. You can include your practicum/intern/volunteer experience, and treat it just like a job on your resume. Other things you can list within your accomplishments are in-service training workshops for teacher colleagues, developing any after-school programs or extracurricular activities, specialty expertise in particular teaching methods or approaches, increasing parental involvement or strengthening school-community ties, teaching special-needs students, at-risk youth or some other distinct population.
Specific Resume Keywords – Teaching and learning, curriculum development, curriculum planning, curriculum design, creative lesson planning, in-service leadership, peer tutoring, peer mentoring, lead teacher, teacher-parent relations, special needs students, gifted/talented students, ESL/ESOL students, student success, testing, learner assessment, technology integration, classroom management, classroom monitoring, discipline strategies, student involvement, parental involvement, instruction, teaching across the curriculum, interdisciplinary teaching approaches, K-12, mainstream, inclusion, brain-based learning.
Once you have been invited for an interview, you will need to focus on preparing for the interview. Use your self-inventory and your research about the employer to write out and think about how you are a perfect fit.
You need to be confident and calm in the interview as you give your answers, so practicing your answers is very important! You may be interviewed by a school team consisting of the principal, vice-principal and one or two staff members, or you may be interviewed at the board level by a panel of interviewers.
You should answer these questions the same way like you lead a classroom – you must be clear and prepared with your responses. If you show any shyness, hesitancy or stuttering that is going to cause some doubts about your ability to teach a classroom of students. It is very important that your answers reflect your interest in students and their needs and that you hold yourself responsible to provide opportunities designed to improve their social and academic achievement. The interviewer will be listening for the consistency between what you are saying and what you submitted in your cover letter and resume.
Below are sample questions that you may be asked during teaching job interviews:
- Give me an example of a performance assessment.
- Do you ever feel angry towards your students?
- What is the ideal relationship between a teacher and student?
- What is your educational philosophy?
- How would you handle difficult parents?
- If a student comes into school with a bruise on their face that you did not notice the day before and that student comes up to you and says I need to tell you something but you have to promise not to tell anyone. What do you do?
- How do you feel about noise in the classroom? How do you handle noise in the classroom?
- Describe the first five minutes of your class.
- How do you handle a child who seems gifted, but is a discipline problem?
- You witness a student bullying another student in the hallway. How would you respond?
- How would you handle making a difficult phone call to a parent?
- Describe a teaching strategy you used to maximize the learning potential of all students
- Describe any multicultural, gender fair classroom practices you have used in the past and how you would ensure equality among your students.
- How would you take advantage of resources within the community to enhance your teaching?
- How do you use technology to enhance student learning?
- How do you evaluate your own teaching?
- How have you divided large amounts of material to be covered? (Hint: Show a sample curriculum or discuss how you would use a curriculum map that includes learning objectives, assessments, activities, and standards)
- Describe a grading system that has worked well for you in the past?
- What are educational issues or trends affecting elementary teaching? (for elementary teachers)
- What are the most desired skills employers want to see in their new hires? How do you as a teacher address this? (for secondary teachers)
Of course there are many other questions that you need to prepare for. Consider as well familiarizing yourself with recent news or research about the student population of the school you are applying to. If you are applying for a position as a 3rd grade math teacher, for example, there may be recent developments in teaching math to this age group that will be relevant to your own teaching philosophy. Learning about these developments and integrating them into the conversation will demonstrate your knowledge of relevant teaching methods, and your commitment to teaching that distinguishes you from the other candidates.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in your target field and geographic location to learn more about that particular sector.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on an organization’s website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular school or university that can strengthen your resume, cover letter, and interview skills. It can also introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing teachers and others within your field.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and chamber mixers for their convenience in meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.
LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, search for jobs, and get introductions and recommendations. You can also mingle with people in the teaching sector and join some related professional groups.
Note that it’s not appropriate to ask a networking contact for a job, but if they know of any job leads, they may share them. Remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and therefore, you need to be patient.