Maureen Newman had no desire to teach until she looked into teaching adults English.


Toronto has earned an international reputation for something few lifelong residents would ever guess: Teaching English.

This city is a major destination for English as a Second Language students from around the globe, evidenced by the large number of private schools that specialize in English training.

Nobody knows that better than Maureen Newman, a one-time manufacturing sales agent who changed gears to pursue a career as a teacher of adults.

"I’ve never had a desire to teach in the school system. Teaching adults is a different challenge altogether," says Newman, 52, whose students are typically in their 20s and early 30s.

In order to teach, she had to return to school herself — but on her own terms.

Newman enrolled in Centennial College’s Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program, offered part-time during the evening and weekends.

The post-graduate certificate program is recognized and certified by TESL Ontario, which means graduates can teach all across Canada and abroad.

"My teachers were very knowledgeable," says Newman. "They emphasized cultural sensitivities — proof that they had taught widely."

Newman was given the opportunity to teach classes herself through practicums arranged by the college through community agencies.

Within eight months of starting the program, Newman was poised to complete the required teaching hours and graduate from the second level of the program.

"I had a job before I even finished," she says. Newman currently teaches English at a private school — a responsibility she adores.

"International students put a lot of trust in their teachers. They’re so appreciative," she says, recalling a presentation where her class gave her a plaque. "It couldn’t be any more rewarding.

"Teaching adults requires people skills and communicative methodologies that rely on more bottom-up teaching and activity-oriented lessons," says Newman. "There’s more creativity involved than you might think."

For people looking to decompress after a hectic career in business and industry, teaching adults may be an appealing alternative.

"A lot of my professional friends are contemplating making the change to teaching, as well."

For more details about Centennial’s TESL program, e-mail mmather@centennialcollege.caor call 416-289-5207.

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