Another step forward towards a Teaching Certification


Vanessa came to Calgary from Brazil in the spring of 2011 with her kids and husband. Back in Brazil, she was teaching English to children in grades k-12. She is currently working as a contract teacher with the Calgary Board of Education.

When Vanessa first came to Canada, she started working in many survival jobs, including retail and customer service. Although the work was not her passion, she was able to improve her English and learn about Canadian workplace culture. Eventually, Vanessa decided that she had to try for her teacher certification here in Canada since that was what she truly loved.

She enquired with Alberta Education and received a list of required documents that she had to submit for assessment. The process to gather all the documents was long and expensive, because she had to request them from her University in Brazil. After 2 years of gathering documents and translations, she recieved the assessment results from Alberta Education, which required her to complete 12 additional credits to obtain her teaching license.

At this time, Vanessa heard about the Bridge to Teaching (BTT) program at the University of Calgary through some friends. This program helps foreign-trained teachers to achieve credits to meet the requirements of Alberta Education, each year this program takes approximately 10 teachers. The BTT was the best thing that happened to Vanessa! Teachers were amazing, and helped her understand the differences in the Canadian school systems compared to back home, as well as participate in a teaching practicum. After BTT, she was able to apply for her teacher’s certification. Vanessa started subbing for the CBE for a year, and then in June 2014 was offered a contract teaching position to start in the following school year!

If Vanessa were to give advice to new immigrants, it would be this: “Do not give up! Usually the teaching career path is from sub to temp, to probation to permanent, which usually take approximately 4 years. Even if you’re afraid, you need to take small steps to make sure that you at least keep moving forward.”