Teach in Ontario provided services for internationally educated teachers (IETs) wishing to re-establish their teaching careers in Ontario. The project was a partnership among LASI World Skills, the Ontario College of Teachers, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and Windsor Women Working With Immigrant Women.
Teach in Ontario provided services for IETs from 2004 to 2009. In the beginning of the project, the most pressing needs of IETs were addressed; navigating the certification process and gaining a deeper understanding of the education system and teaching practices in Ontario. The initial services provided were:
- Information and counselling about the certification process and preparing for employment in Ontario;
- Assistance with document retrieval;
- Teaching-specific language upgrading courses; and
- A six-week employment preparation course that provided an overview of the education system, the role of the teacher and the job search and application process.
Participant feedback about the services was positive. However, both participants and employers indicated that there was a need for an even deeper understanding of the role of the teacher, information about strategies for successful occasional teaching and opportunities to gain some Ontario classroom experience.
Teach in Ontario responded to these needs by introducing the following additional services in 2006:
- A Classroom Immersion Module that offered a two-week placement in a classroom under the guidance of an experienced educator, with some teaching responsibilities;
- A Professional Coaching Module that provided a six-month mentoring relationship with an experienced educator; and
- An Occasional Teaching Workshop that prepared IETs for this unique employment situation.
Service participants felt that they had gained a greater understanding of the role of the teacher and greater comfort with the school culture in Ontario. Feedback from employers noted a significant improvement in the performance of IETs at interviews, but it was felt that a deeper understanding of the role of teachers, the foundations of professional practice and workplace culture was still required.
In response to this employer feedback, Teach in Ontario developed an orientation course, in partnership with the Ontario Public Supervisory Officers’ Association (OPSOA) and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Since knowledge and understanding of Ontario’s education model is best imparted by those who work in the system, experienced former principals were hired to deliver the course in communities across Ontario in partnership with local school boards.
Course participants reported improved understanding of the role of the teacher in Ontario and increased confidence in their ability to successfully transition into the profession in their new country. Many participants went on to obtain teaching employment contracts.
Before the creation of Teach in Ontario, internationally educated teachers were frustrated by the seemingly complex certification and employment preparation processes. Now, five years later, many of the barriers to certification and employment for IETs have been alleviated as a result of the work of Teach in Ontario and its partners.