Occasional Teaching in Canada

This week, something unusual is going to happen. I have two online interviews scheduled this week with 2 Canadian public school boards. Both of them are located in the province of Ontario. In my previous years living and working overseas, I realized that it made no sense for me to apply for a teaching position in Canada if I am located overseas, because Canadian school boards would never schedule any online interviews with potential candidates on Skype. I’ve been using Skype for a decade now in fact, my first Skype interview was just this week 10 years ago when I went back to Canada. The Skype interview was live from Taiwan to Mississauga. I am pretty sure that because of the social distancing measures caused by COVID-19, some Canadian school boards are now giving online interviews (not through Skype but others like Microsoft Teams or Zoom).

After I have the interviews this week with these two Canadian school boards, I don’t know if I will be accepted to teach there or not. My contract here in Taiwan will not be renewed after July 31st, so by then I have to be out of Taiwan. However if I do not get accepted from one of these two Canadian school boards for an occasional teaching position, then I will head to Thailand. I got one job offer from Thailand so far, and they are now supposed to be working on my documentation for my visa.

If I get accepted to teach for one of the two Canadian school boards, I will most certainly ditch Thailand and head straight back home. But I do have a great concern about going back to Canada to work as an occasional teacher. For those of you here in Taiwan who are licensed and certified by the OCT, you may be familiar with regulation 274. This is a regulation in which all school boards have to have separate lists of occasional teachers, and long term occasional teachers. Also the regulation says that if you are hired by a school board for the first time, you have to start out as an occasional teacher, and you need to do at least 20 different substitute teaching assignments at different schools within that particular school district. For instance, if you apply to work as an occasional teacher for the Simcoe District School Board and you get hired, you have to do at least 20 different substitute teaching assignments at schools under the Simcoe DSB within 10 months, before you can move further to becoming an LTO (Long Tern Occasional) teacher. Following that you will be eligible for a permanent position. Some school boards such as the Ottawa-Carleton DSB have a policy that says if an occasional teacher does not receive at least 20 supply teaching assignments within 10 months, that occasional teacher will be subject to a purge.

If I accept a position as an occasional teacher in Ontario, Canada, I am afraid that I may be stuck spending 10 or perhaps maybe 15 years as an occasional teacher under that school board. Because when you are working as an occasional teacher in Ontario, you will be in a precarious situation. Mind you I spent 2 years working in Canada for an Indigenous school board, and I worked everyday as scheduled. I never did occasional teaching work before. So if I return to Canada to start out under one of these school boards as an occasional teacher, I may not even have a supply teaching assignment for 4 days, or a week, even for a whole month! I may not even be able to make enough money to pay rent, I will have to get a part-time job driving a taxi cab or delivering pizza just to make ends meat. What’s even worse is that I will have to go through that struggle for a decade.

Are there any netizens here who are OCT certified teachers from Ontario? Have you worked as an occasional teacher in Ontario before coming here to Taiwan (or wherever you may be)?

Tell me how would I be able to survive as an occasional teacher when I have to pay rent and utility bills? (Not to mention how the average apartment in small towns like North Bay or Brockville is as high as C$1000/month). Do you think I would be better off going to Thailand to teach EFL on a contract than to go back to Canada?

Also remember this…Here in Taiwan, I have no pension because I am not a citizen of Taiwan, neither am I married to a Taiwanese. Even of I move to Thailand I will have no pension there. But I will have a pension in Canada for sure.

BTW, I still have my car in Canada which will help me so I can either use it for part time work or live in it.