Archive for Yuni Kim
Yuni Kim is a York University graduate and former two-time News Editor at Excalibur Publications. She has completed the consecutive Bachelor of Education program at YorkU and is trying to reach her goal of three pull ups at the gym, because she sets high standards for herself and stuff.
Why this new graduate isn’t intimidated
Stanford University recently announced that it will fully fund PhD graduates who go on to education degrees. While the traditional route for PhDs is academia, the reality of the job market in the U.S. means they might not find jobs in higher eduction, so they’re being encouraged to help alleviate a shortage of high school teachers instead.
As we know, the job market in Canada is very different. Here, new teachers struggle to find work.
Last week Ontario announced that it will halve the number of people admitted to teacher’s colleges in 2015. The province also added another year to the program. That means most new teachers in Canada will have four-year bachelor’s degrees and two-year bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degrees, for a total of six years. Some will also have master’s degrees and a few will have PhDs.
Teacher’s college says we’re out of luck until 2015
I got a call from Montreal the other day. On the other line was a man who represented a teaching agency in London, England. He had seen my email and resumé and said that I could come over to teach after completing the required paperwork.
When I decided three years ago to follow my calling, moving across continents for a job was unfathomable. I predicted I would send out resumés after graduation, then a school board within a reasonable distance from my home would ask me to work for them full-time as a teacher, everything would be hunky dory and I would decorate my classroom with dry-erase markers of every colour (you can never have too many).
The above scenario was obviously a delusional fantasy.
I recently learned in an email from one of my instructors here at York University’s teacher’s college that, in keeping with regulations agreed to with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, school boards will essentially no longer be allowed to do external hiring until all current occasional teachers have had the opportunity to apply for available jobs. In other words, until the huge backlog of certified teachers—many of whom are fighting tooth and nail just to land a supply teaching gig—have had their shot at a full-time job, fresh teacher college younglings need not apply.
I did fine without teachers who ‘looked’ exactly like me
An internal memo circulated earlier this week within the Toronto District School Board explicitly states: “The first round of TDSB interviews will be granted to teachers candidates that meet one or more of the following criteria in addition to being an outstanding teacher: Male, racial minority, French, Music, Aboriginal.”
Although the school board is taking the stance that the hiring criteria outlined above is not meant to actively exclude other groups, I can’t help but think that if I sent in a resume after graduating from York University’s education program this spring, as a female, I’d be rejected.
I’ve been constantly reminded that, as an Asian female, there are special scholarships available to me—that I enjoy a special kind of privilege offered to women of colour. A representative at a job fair stand once told me that if I ever considered applying for a position with the Toronto Police Service, I’d be a shoo-in. The TPS was running low on Asian female police officers—their words, not mine. Some would call this affirmative action. Others would cry reverse racism.
I say: why should any of this matter? Shouldn’t merit, skill and experience be what really counts?
How online dating taught me to wary of my web presence
One man who messaged me on Craigslist was in his third year of engineering at the University of Toronto and he seemed like a decent guy. We arranged to meet a few days later and, naturally, I decided to put his name into Google.
Imagine my surprise when his name and phone number brought up multiple crude profiles on gay male escort websites complete with headshots.
Of course I was worried that he might be a male escort. But another part of me was worried for this stranger. What if he was set up by someone out to hurt his professional reputation? Given all the horror stories I’d read about identity theft on the Internet, that conclusion didn’t seem like a huge stretch.
I didn’t grow up engulfed in the social media machine. I got my first cellphone in my first year of university. I got Facebook at 16, and I’m still not sure about the fascination with Instagram. But I’m painfully aware that every single thing we put online is a tool, whether it’s a photo or something we write. Anyone can take these tools to construct an image of us, and these images may not be flattering. In fact, some of them can be damaging, hurtful, or malicious.
A $250,000 settlement has students talking
U.S. television host and journalist Charlie Rose recently settled a class-action lawsuit after his production company was accused of failing to pay its former college interns. The settlement will set his production company back about $250,000, with each of the 189 interns walking away with $1,100 each for 10 weeks’ worth of work.
“$1,100? Not that bad,” I thought to myself.
Media executive turned law school graduate Steve Cohen disagreed. In the Wall Street Journal he called the lawsuit “dumb” and the settlement “worse.” He says that companies will now be hesitant to take on interns because it invites the possibility of meddling from labour activists rallying against the notion of unpaid work.
It’s a difficult time to be an education student
I was sitting at a desk with four boys in their applied history class. Instead of diving straight into the political issues of World War Two, I started by comparing it to a schoolyard fight where everybody begins by taking their friends’ sides.
After this comparison, the boys were far more receptive to the details. When they were able to recall it almost perfectly on a test many days later, I was proud of them and surprised at myself.
That was three years ago when I was volunteering at my old high school and considering high school teaching as a career option. It was a time before lesson planning, hiring freezes and politics. It was a time of blissful naivety.
At some point during the past few months I found myself disillusioned by teacher’s college here at York University. It turns out I’m not alone. My classmates and I are feeling pressure from all sides, including the issues that come with the recently passed Bill 115, which freezes Ontario teachers’ wages and allows the government to intervene in school board negotiations with the unions.
Online rants could hurt my future career
Writing was always an outlet for me. Whenever I felt emotionally constipated, I would grab my laptop and write my heart out. On top of the work I did as News Editor at Excalibur, York University’s student paper, I’d type out angry rants, poorly written fiction, and hazy recollections of childhood. One day I had the pompous idea that other people might like what I write, so I started blogging.
I ranted about unpaid internships, experiences in teacher’s college, and other embarrassing parts of my life. I managed to reconnect with a few old high school friends who came across my writing. My former teachers encouraged me to keep updating my blog. I was flattered that people were taking time to read my work. I was proud.
About four months and 30-odd posts later, I shut it down. Here’s why.
Education degrees aren’t just for the classroom
I’m currently in teacher’s college at York University and sometimes I find myself worrying about my future career. The Ontario College of Teachers reports that one-third of 2010 education grads were unable to land any employment in the 2010-11 school year, not even supply teaching. In 2011, only 23 per cent had regular teaching jobs.
So what to do? Instead of focusing on how hard it’s going to be to find a job, I’m considering other options. It’s much better than depressing myself reading more discouraging statistics! With that, I humbly present 10 options every education graduate should consider.
1. Teaching abroad
There are many countries where English teachers are highly sought (South Korea, the Middle East, Japan). If you’re an adventure seeker with no immediate obligations, teaching abroad on a one or two-year contract is a great option. The classroom experience could prove useful when you return.
A grad’s survival guide
If you choose to drink, there are a few things you need to know. We’re not talking about the legal drinking age or the dangers of drunk driving, which society has justifiably drilled into your head since you were old enough to finger paint. Instead, Yuni Kim, a recent graduate of York University who is currently in teacher’s college, offers you 10 things every student should know about drinking.
1. Keep emergency cash for taxis. At some point, you will stumble out of a bar, feel the slap of the chilly Canadian air in your face and realize you’re nowhere near home. It will be 2 a.m. and public transit won’t be there to save you. Many cab drivers won’t take debit, and there’s not a single ATM on this sketchy street. You’ll be glad you have that spare $20 to whisk you away.
2. Pick up the tab once in a while. Be cool enough to buy a round of pints for your friends whenever you have the cash to spare. This ritual builds camaraderie and chances are the karma will come back to you just as your bank account hits zero around Thanksgiving. With that said…