How I leapfrogged into teaching for McGill University

McGill University is like the Harvard of Canada. Although the title kind of switches around depending on who you ask and when, McGill is supposedly the best university (overall) in Canada, a top 20 university in the world.

I didn’t know any of this when I first applied to work with them. After I started moving forward toward the interview process, though, I did more research. That’s when I got really excited.

Regardless of the contract, I realized I wanted the job just for the connection with the university. The more I learned about it, even more so now that I’m part of it, I’m amazed by how I’ve been able to leapfrog into this position.

I studied at Indiana University Southeast but graduated with a diploma that just says Indiana University. And I have two of them because I happened to take a bunch of classes in one other subject that isn’t so related to my first major. So that helped.

From there, I moved to Korea to teach and then got a TESOL certificate in Thailand. I knew that slightly over a year of teaching experience combined with the TESOL certificate would help me get into some ESL jobs, but I also knew, from Korea, that degrees count more.

So instead of focusing on learning Korean while I was in Korea, I took classes online through Liberty University. But my diploma doesn’t say “online,” just Liberty University.

I couldn’t normally have afforded a Master’s program, but I was able to use the money I made in Korea along with the extra time I had during the day, since I taught in the evenings, to pour into the degree. I graduated just under a year after I started the program, which sounds impressive, I guess, but more importantly it means I saved on tuition because it got cheaper the more classes I took each term.

Now, with the Master’s and the TESOL certificate and the experience abroad, I just barely squeaked in as a candidate for teaching positions in Saudi Arabia. Most of these positions in the Middle East go to teachers with at least two to five (or more) years of experience, certainly not to some 23-year-old with a year of Korea under his belt.

The thing about Saudi Arabia too, another reason it looked attractive to me, was because I knew there was a possibility that I could work at a university. I definitely had that in the back of my mind.

I had no idea, though, that I would end up working here, on a 9.5 month contract that pays what I hoped to get out of a normal one year contract, in a program partnered with a western university like McGill.

I mean, I have my own email with them and everything.

All this to say, I’m incredibly blessed. Each hop along the way has just worked out, not by coincidence but certainly not because I’m an expert strategist. I’m just grateful – what else should I be?