The Surprise Pandemic Journey


By Amy Ve

Moving back to Canada from teaching in Korea in the midst of a pandemic was a whirlwind experience of emotions. I had an idea in my head that I was going to finish my contract, say goodbye to my students, and then plan my organized return to Canada to head into the next chapter of my career. That didn’t happen. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my students. They were all still at home and had yet to return to school for in person classes, and I had to end my contract a month early as a result of the border closures. My planned transition of finishing up one chapter of my life in one country, then coming home and continuing the same style of career was disrupted. 

My planned transition of finishing up one chapter of my life in one country, then coming home and continuing the same style of career was disrupted. 

The Disappointment & Decision 

After I was able to get home and finish my two week quarantine I slowly began to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to find a job teaching EAL like I had hoped I would. There weren’t many EAL teaching jobs available that I was qualified for, so I made the decision to return to a job I had done before so that I could pay my bills. I have worked in the customer service industry for most of my working life before getting into teaching abroad. There’s comfort in being able to build connections with the people you serve in any job, and it was a great comfort to be able to return to something I was familiar with. However, something still felt like it was missing. I wanted to find something more meaningful in terms of really being able to help people in a purposeful way. 

The Search & Support 

Getting back into job searching was not as easy as I expected it to be. There were many jobs still available, but not many that I really wanted to do, or the ones that I did want to do I didn’t seem qualified for because I had little formal experience. A friend referred me to reach out and try an employment services organization that helps people find work. You can work with a case manager (or independently) and access supports that help you with finding a job that is sustainable and (hopefully) meets your needs.  Through these job searching supports, I ended up applying for and getting a job as a job counselor. The very same job that helped support me in discovering a potentially new and permanent career path. 

A New Chapter 

It was very surprising for me, but as I experienced being supported in this way while looking for work, it made me realize that I really wanted to find a job like this. Now, I want to help people find the kind of job where they can feel like they are working with purpose, or even just one that gives them the job security they need to be able to pay their bills. To me, being able to assist people in that journey to employment, is amazing.

Bio: Amy Ve is currently working as an Employment Counselor and previously spent time working as an EAL Instructor in South Korea. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work and TESL Certificate from Thompson Rivers University.


Did you leave the EAL field due to COVID-19? What are you doing now?

June 25 #CdnELTchat: Encouraging reflective practice for ourselves and our students


#CdnELTchat summary for June 25, 2019
Encouraging reflective practice for ourselves and our students
Bonnie Nicholas

A small but mighty group of ELT gathered on Twitter on the last Tuesday in June to reflect and discuss questions around reflective practice. These are the questions that guided our discussion:

Q1: What does reflective practice mean to you? What does a reflective classroom community look like?

Q2: What are some ways to weave reflective practices into our daily routine? How much time should we spend in reflection? What’s the best timeline for reflection – daily? weekly? moments throughout the day? How can we find (or make) time for reflection for ourselves with all the demands being placed on us?

Q3: How can we guide students to become reflective learners? What are some strategies you use that help guide student reflection? What are some obstacles and possible solutions to student reflections in your class?

Q4: Is it best to do reflective practice individually (eg. keeping a journal to write reflections on our teaching practice) or with others (eg. debriefing with colleagues to reflect on our teaching practice)? Or, if one isn’t better than the other, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches?

Q5: What are two things in your practice that are working for you? Looking back, how did you grow as an educator this year?

Q6: Looking ahead, what is something in your practice that you think you should either change or let go in the following year? What professional activities, resources or relationships do you need to have access to in order to make these changes?

You can find the collected tweets on Wakelet: Thanks to Jennifer Chow for keeping the questions coming during the chat. Special thanks to Augusta Avram for finding and sharing some articles on reflective practice to get the conversation started. You’ll find the links in the archived tweets. 

The #CdnELTchat team will be taking a break during the summer months. @jennifermchow, @ELTAugusta, @EALstories, and @StanzaSL will be back in the fall with more Tuesday evening chats. In the meantime, please contact any of us if you have any ideas for topics or questions, or if you’re interested in helping with the chats.  As well, our Padlet is always open for comments: And of course, please continue to tweet your ideas and links using the #CdnELTchat hashtag. Happy summer!

Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@LINCInstructor). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.