All Posts Tagged With: "teachers college"
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.
What students are talking about today (March 11th)
1. Groups of students from more than two dozen universities in Canada are participating in 5 Days for the Homeless, a fundraiser for which students started five nights of outdoor sleeping on Sunday. The initiative has raised nearly $1 million since starting in 2008 at the University of Alberta, according to its website. Different student groups are supporting different charities. Queen’s University students are raising money for the Kingston Youth Shelter, which provides food, shelter and other aid for those aged 16 to 24.
2. Here’s another indication of how gloomy the job market is for new teachers. A task force set up to explore ways to restructure the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has recommended eliminating undergraduate teacher training altogether. The one-year program will need to change regardless as all teacher training in Ontario must be two-years long by 2014. The Varsity stresses this is only one of several proposals.
3. Students at Dalhousie University who want advice picking a career have to wait up to two months for appointments. There aren’t enough counsellors to meet the demand and it’s unlikely any will be hired. The Dalhousie Career Counselling Centre, “asks for more money every year, as does every university department that’s ever existed, and they never get it,” reports the Dalhousie Gazette. Access to career counselling is a problem that certainly isn’t limited to Dal.
4. There was a “high-risk takedown” at the University of Waterloo on Saturday, reports The Record, “and although a semi-automatic rifle, a box of ammunition and a Frankenstein mask were all found in the suspect’s car, officers said a 25-year-old Waterloo man facing several charges didn’t intend any harm.” The man was pulled over in his truck at the university two hours after reports of shots in a rural area. He told police it was target practice and the mask was a coincidence. Police apparently believed him, since he was released after being charged, reports The Record.
5. The Gazette at Western University has investigated the use of the ADD/ADHD drug Adderall by students looking for an edge while studying. This story is nothing new. Vivien Chang investigated this in February. Still, reporter Julian Uzielli does a good job summarizing the issues and points out that, surprisingly, it’s not considered cheating to illegally use concentration-boosting pills.
Meanwhile, Shire Canada, the pharmaceutical company that makes Adderall, is being lauded for a new scholarship for students with Adult ADD/ADHD. Scholarship recipients will get $1,500 for tuition and a year’s worth of ADHD coaching. Call me cynical, but this is a transparent marketing ploy. Included in their press release is the claim that approximately 1.5 million adult Canadians are living with ADHD. Imagine that: 1.5 million potential customers!
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?
What students are talking about today (January 24th)
1. Roughly half as many people in Ontario applied to start teacher’s college in 2013 than applied in 2007 and there was a 15 per cent drop in the past year alone, according to new numbers from the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre. There were just 8,199 applicants this year, compared to 16,042 applicants six years ago. There were 9,638 in 2012. The University of Windsor saw the biggest decline with 25 per cent fewer applications. It looks like students are getting the message about the shortage of teaching jobs. There was such a mismatch in recent years that Ontario capped the number of first-year education students at 9,058. It looks like that cap won’t be needed.
2. Emily Carr University is getting $113 million in provincial funding to move its campus to Great Northern Way, a less central but more spacious location in suburban Vancouver, reports The Province. The art and design college’s current location was built for 800 students but has 1,800, meaning many qualified applicants have been turned down. The building will open in July 2016.
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.
Tyler Bozak’s Halloween horror, Star Wars sold & Psy in T.O.
1. If you’re planning to go out for Halloween at the University of Prince Edward Island, you may be out of luck. Tickets to the annual Halloween party at the The Wave pub on campus sold out in six days and people are desperately seeking them on Facebook, promising extra cash—even cookies. Last year, tickets were controversially resold for $50 each “a full $37 more than the listed price,” reports The Cadre. Oh the horror!
2. If you haven’t already got a costume, Kevin Hurren of Western U. has a few cerebral suggestions. My favorite is the ceiling fan.
3. But be careful that your costume won’t be interpreted as racist. Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak was criticized for wearing black makeup as part of a Michael Jackson Halloween costume. After a flurry of criticism, he Tweeted: “That’s a tribute to one of my fave artists. For anyone saying its racist is crazy!”
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.
Dodgeball record, PETA billboards & Western homecoming
1. Students from the University of California Irvine shattered the Guinness World Record for the largest game of dodgeball this week with 6,084 players. The University of Alberta, a four-time record-holder, lost its standing. It had 4,979 players on Feb. 3. I bet they’ll try to get it back.
2. Western University’s homecoming parade will be held on campus today, rather than downtown. It’s because London Police won’t provide extra officers pro bono. (They may be busy anyway.)
3. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will put up billboards near Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa schools this Thanksgiving holiday, reports The Canadian Press. The billboards will read: “Kids, if you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Go vegan.”
Improved attendance and engagement observed
Research by Nipissing University professor Douglas Gosse shows that inner-city boys are more likely to succeed academically in all-boys classrooms and schools. From the release:
Gosse’s study involved four weeks of data collection in grades 7 and 8 in an inner city Toronto school. Most of the students were of African, Caribbean and South Asian immigrant backgrounds, where English is not the primary language at home. Many of the families live well below the poverty line. The study is based on in-school and extracurricular observations, interviews with teachers and the school principal, document analysis and a comprehensive literature review on boys and education from North American, Australian and British sources.
Guns on campus, a Bar Mitzvah video, teacher’s college…
1. The University of Colorado Boulder announced it will require students who live in undergraduate residence halls to forgo bringing handguns to campus. That may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a bold step for Boulder in light of a Colorado Supreme Court decision in March that affirmed students’ rights to handguns on campus. The rule does not apply to graduate students. Let it be noted that James Holmes, the man who killed 12 and wounded 58 others at The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado in July, was a graduate student.
2. A new $100 bank note with an Asian-looking woman peering into a microscope was deemed too controversial by a focus groups. Instead of simply rolling their eyes, the Bank of Canada purged the note in favour of a “neutral” Caucasian-looking figure. To quote from the report received by The Canadian Press: “Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology… Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes.”
3. Research In Motion is laying off so many people right now that it isn’t even bothering to meet with all of them in person. The BlackBerry maker dumped 100 workers in Halifax this week by herding them into a room and then showing them a teleconference link with someone at Waterloo, Ont. headquarters. One worker called it “inhumane,” because she couldn’t even ask questions.
A celebrity wedding, a man-eating snake and news for teachers
1. Researchers at the University of Florida have dissected a 17-foot-7-inch Burmese python, the largest ever found in Florida. It had 87 eggs inside. The invasive species, first found in 1979 in Florida, are known to prey on birds, deer, bobcats, alligators and other large animals. “A 17.5-foot snake could eat anything it wants,” herpetologis Kenneth Krysko told the UF News.
2. Actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis, 42, married his 29-year-old partner Quinn Lundberg at the University of British Columbia farm on Saturday, according to UsMagazine.com.
3. A researcher at Western University says the cholesterol egg yolks is almost as dangerous as smoking. In his recent study of 1,200 people, egg consumption greatly accelerated plaque build up on arteries, which is known to lead to heart disease. Egg Farmers of Canada, an industry group, says there is no link between eggs and heart disease.
Unions demand too much in era of high unemployment
How terribly drôle it must be for recent education graduates with a seat to the teacher contract disputes in Ontario and British Columbia.
In the province of Ontario, the teacher’s federation is busy expressing its “insult” at the latest government contract proposal to freeze their wages, which top out at around $95,000.
Meanwhile, as many as two-thirds of education grads in the province are under- or unemployed.
Recruiters didn’t show
Here’s more evidence that newly-minted teachers face a rough job market. The University of Prince Edward Island cancelled their education job fair this year due to lack of interest from recruiters, reports CBC News. But there is hope, they note, if students willing to travel to Nunavut. (Yes, seriously!) Last week we noted that the University of Manitoba’s teaching job fair attracted no local school boards, but the Royal Canadian Mounted Police showed up, suggesting that while teachers aren’t in high demand in schools right now, their skills continue to be valued by other employers.
Hint: It’s not schools, and they pay $80k after three years.
Education graduates face a dismal job market. Two-thirds of recent grads in Ontario aren’t working full-time. The University of British Columbia’s teacher’s college recently admitted that many graduates won’t find jobs in teaching.
Things are bad in Manitoba too. The local school boards didn’t even show up at Monday’s University of Manitoba education job fair.
But that same job fair should give education graduates a reason to be hopeful, because it showed how certain other employers value their experiences.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for example, showed up at Manitoba’s education job fair for the first time Monday. The force is recruiting education graduates for the police academy in Regina.
Nine per cent drop in Ontario
The Ontario College of Teachers sounded the alarm bells in 2011 about the gap between the number of graduating teachers and the shrinking number of jobs available. Their survey of new graduates showed 24 per cent were unemployed and only one-third were employed full-time.
John Milloy, the minister in charge, reacted by taking the unprecedented step of capping the number of first-year education students at 9,058.
This week, new statistics show that students got the message. The Ontario University Application Centre reports that provincial teacher’s colleges received 8.9 per cent fewer applicants in 2012.
Some schools saw huge declines. Nipissing University in North Bay, Ont. got 15.8 per cent fewer applications. Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont. got 21.5 per cent fewer applications.
The (surprisingly) most-read stories of 2011
Each year, we offer Maclean’s On Campus readers a look back at the Top 10 most-read higher education news stories of the year. There were two big themes in 2011. First, the many scandals over universities’ reputations, from Alberta to Queen’s to St. FX. Second, uncertainty about the job market for grads.
1. Time for this year’s edition of X-ring Idol
Our blogging English professor, Todd Pettigrew, dared to compare the obsession of St. Francis Xavier students with their beloved X-ring to Gollum’s unhealthy quest for the precious. We knew St. FX students would defend their tradition vociferously—and they did, with more than 250 comments over three days. Most were from alumni and students who thought Pettigrew missed the point. They argued that the ring symbolizes their hard work and the family-like bond they instantly glean whenever a fellow X-grad catches a glimpse of their band. Then again, dozens of readers agreed with Pettigrew—some even suggested the flood of emotional reactions reinforced his point.
Few jobs. Shut programs. How art schools are adapting.
Christina McKenzie is pretty typical of Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates these days. She doesn’t regret taking a BFA at York University (2005). She’s grateful for the four years she spent exploring photography, bronze-casting, painting, drawing, book-making, sculpture and art history.
But there’s another part of her that wishes she’d taken something more focused, like photography or design, perhaps. Had she done that, who knows where she’d be?
McKenzie had planned to become an art teacher after her BFA. She was even accepted to a teacher’s college, but deferred it. She’s very glad she did. At least a quarter of her art school colleagues went on to teacher’s college. Many can’t find jobs. In fact, two-thirds of new teaching graduates in Ontario can’t find work as teachers.
Petition asks gov. for higher standards
“We’ve kind of been watching a train wreck,” University of Winnipeg math Prof. Anna Stokke told the Winnipeg Free Press last week. She’s talking about the fact that many education students aren’t getting the math they need in university and are therefore less likely to be able to teach elementary school students the subject, perpetuating bad math skills at a time when more jobs require them.
Most people aren’t aware that a student can get into a faculty of education with only Grade 12 consumer math, Stokke said. “I wouldn’t even call it a math course — it’s a life-skills course.”
That’s why she is circulating a petition demanding higher standards for education students. So far, 224 people, including professors, parents, students and teachers have signed the petition.
“Currently, many students enter education faculties in the universities in Manitoba with the least demanding of the Grade 12 mathematics courses,” reads the petition. “University math professors have found that students with this minimum requirement often have alarmingly weak mathematics skills and high levels of math anxiety…. It has also been documented that math anxiety in a classroom teacher may transfer to his or her students.”
More classroom experience needed, they say
Ontario’s governing Liberals say that if they’re re-elected on Oct. 6, they would double the length of teacher’s college programs from one to two years.
“The new two-year program would mean that student teachers would spend more time in the classroom,” the Liberals wrote a press release. “Ontario’s one-year teacher education program is one of the shortest in Canada. Other places in the world where students rank high in standardized tests — such as Japan, Singapore and Finland — have multi-year programs.” They point out that Ontario teachers graduate with only 40 days experience.
Ontario capped enrollment in teacher’s colleges in May in response to high unemployment among new teachers.