York English language educator earns award of excellence


David Hazell, of the York University English Language Institute (YUELI), is the recipient of the Sparks of Excellence Award from the Teachers of English as a Second Language Association of Ontario (TESL).

Hazell has been an English language educator since 2003, and has an MA TESOL from University College London.

The award, granted this year to two recipients, recognizes the “excellence and commitment of TESL Ontario members who provide outstanding educational experiences to their students or who demonstrate exceptional leadership/mentoring expertise towards their colleagues and student teachers in a manner that goes above and beyond the day to day duties of their job.”

David Hazell

Hazell joined York in 2021 and is the program manager of English for academic purposes at YUELI, where he manages the academic program assisting international students in their pathway to degree programs at York University. He is also responsible for the short-term immersion programs as well as customized programs.

This role has provided Hazell with exciting new challenges and opportunities to develop by working with diverse student groups and in areas such as program development.

“It’s a real honour to receive the award. I count myself as lucky to have learned so much from my students and colleagues over the years, and I have been inspired by so many people in the TESOL field along the way,” said Hazell. “At York University English Language Institute, the team works every day to provide our learners with positive, authentic and memorable learning experiences, so this award is really a recognition of what we have all achieved over the last year or two.”

Hazell began his teaching journey in the U.K., teaching in language schools in Brighton and London. In 2004, he moved to Japan where he taught in Kyoto and around the Kansai region. He enjoyed living in Japan and stayed for five years teaching business English and test prep classes.

In 2009, Hazell arrived in Canada and began working in private language schools in Toronto. He began working as an ESL teacher at the English School of Canada in 2010 before moving into the role of director of studies at the school in 2012. In this role, he managed a team of teachers and the day-to-day running of the school. He oversaw teacher hiring and training, program and class scheduling, continuous professional development, and curriculum development. Working with teachers with a range of experience levels, he particularly enjoyed working with novice language teachers and supporting them through the early stages of their career.

Hazell served on the TESL Ontario Board of Directors from 2015-21. He was Chair, vice-Chair and treasurer during his two terms on the board. He also served as Chair of the TESL Ontario Private Sector Committee from 2017-20. His time on the board was a wonderful and inspiring learning period, he says, during which he was lucky to collaborate with many inspirational individuals working and volunteering for the organization.