The application process and your “digital footprint”

It’s funny how unintentionally circular life can be. Five years ago I was frantically putting together my supplementary application for my Concurrent Bachelor of Education, just as many of you who are reading this are doing. Today, I am (not frantically) polishing my applications to school boards for teacher hiring.

Five years flew by in what seems like five seconds, but when I look back I am always so surprised and proud of all that I accomplished in that time. And, not surprisingly, the easiest way for me to look back is to scroll through what I’ve posted online—also known as my digital footprint.

If there’s anything that I’ve learned over these past five years as a student, an educator and an eAmbassador, it’s that an online presence is not only delicate but crucial to have. Contrary to popular belief, changing your name on Facebook and disappearing off the face of the internet is not the answer. Give yourself a persona that will make you undoubtedly hirable by putting yourself out there; make your Twitter and Instagram feeds public and fill them with content relevant to your professional field, and make online networking connections with higher-ups that could potentially help you out post-grad.

It can be as simple as something like this:

On a similar note to that of relevant content, start to be mindful of how your work and volunteer experiences are relevant to what you want to do in the future; you’ll get your “edge” from the skills that you can draw from your experiences and bring to your career. I have grown aware of how adaptable the skills I acquired through my leadership experiences really are, and I am very grateful to have had those opportunities.

Still putting your supplementary application together? Keep everything relevant and concise—maybe your first job delivering newspapers isn’t all that, but maybe your experience mentoring incoming high school students is! Choose references that have seen you in those “all that” capacities, because they’re the ones who will really be able to show you off to the decision-makers.

Bonne chance, and comment below if you have any questions about your application(s)!

PS. Interested in scoping out my relevant experience since high school? Visit my linkedIN profile; I worked really hard on it… 🙂

How it all began

My Mum discovered Glendon when I was in grade ten. She put the handbook in front of me and said, “This is what you need to do; there is no doubt in my mind.” In grade ten, I hade made my decision. I was going to go to Glendon no matter what it took. I studied that handbook front to back and back to front and when it came time in grade eleven for a rep from Glendon to visit my French Immersion class, I was beside myself with excitement. I wish I could remember who it was that visited that day, because it was she who I credit for re-affirming all of my dreams. A list of things I had decided when I was a mere fifteen years old (because I’m a huge keener):

  • I was going to go to Glendon
  • I was going to study French
  • I was going to become a French teacher
  • I was going to study abroad during my degree
  • I was going to love all of the above

I have done or am still doing all of these things. WHAT. I wish for all students applying to post-secondary institutions to feel this way about their futures, but the path towards feeling this way is different for every single person! I feel so fortunate to have known so early on what I wanted to do and to have been able to stick to my dreams throughout my years at Glendon, but some of you who are reading this will change their path several times over the next few years. Please know that this is ok! It’s normal to question your previous decisions, and it’s normal to wonder if you would succeed in a different field. The important thing to remind yourself of is that your path, no matter how sharp its turns, is what shapes you as a person to be successful in the future as you face all kinds of insane endeavours. If you’re applying to universities this Fall, I hope that you are considering Glendon as a part of your path. We’re all experiencing our sharp turns together! — eAmbassador Juan wrote a really great post about why he switched programs in his third year. Read it here!

So, you want to be a teacher? All about the Concurrent ED program at York

Yes, yes I do. The Concurrent Ed program at York is doing a phenomenal job of getting me ready for that chapter of my life, which is coming up way more quickly than it seems!
Having spent the last six years teaching swimming, aquatic leadership, and dance as well tutoring, I’ve found myself in a place where I want to grow even more as a teacher. In my spare time I learn about educators all over the world who have been trying new and innovative methods of teaching, and my wall above my desk is littered with post-it notes and drawings of different ideas that I’d love to try with my students. My hopes are to also complete a Masters of Education and move into managerial and leadership roles within the Ontario Education Sector.

In 20 years, I hope to be described as a game-changer and a trailblazer.

I have big dreams.

Before I delve into the program itself, here are three important things that I think are very important to remember when in any ED class or practicum:

1. Be clear and concise with everything you do. Papers, poster projects, lesson plans, you name it; do it neatly and keep it concise! If you’re teaching a lesson, use language that your students will understand and be able to use. When writing lesson plans, be very clear about your step-by-step approach to students’ mastery of the lesson item.

2. Have fun with your students. Crazy, right?! Believe me when I tell you that the students you work with are going to ADORE you because you’re the cool, young student teacher. Take advantage of that and make their schoolwork fun and relatable! I had my students last year using Twitter and a class-wide hashtag for a War of 1812 assignment. I never thought History could be that fun, but I proved myself wrong. (And I hope to prove myself wrong a lot throughout my career!)

3. Look the part! We all know that the teaching itself is most important, but TC’s should never forget how important it is to look the part of the teacher. Stand up straight, put a big smile on, and use friendly body language that shows you have command of the classroom. Dress conservatively, but have fun with it! Bright colours and patterns are a must in the classroom. 🙂

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I think we could all learn a thing or two from Jess Day.

Now, for the program itself!

This post has a lot of content and is probably a lot to take in all at once, so I’d definitely suggest you also take a look at the Faculty of Ed website as it has all of the information you need to understand what happens in the Ed program! For a chart that outlines all of the program’s requirements for courses, click here, and for more details about Practicums, click here.

The Concurrent Education program at York and Glendon is a three year program that a student completes concurrently with their BA/iBA/BSc/BFA etc. The three years of the ED program are called ED 1, ED 2, and ED 3 (easy enough!) and are started by most students in their second year. Those who start in their second year will have the opportunity to take what the Department calls a ‘stop-out’ year after either ED 1 or ED 2 to focus on their main degree and/or to go on an international exchange, which is what I’m doing this year! Those who start ED in their third year are not able to take a stop-out if they want to graduate within five years.

DISCLAIMER: I am not in the Glendon B.Ed French program! I am in the Concurrent B.Ed program at the Keele campus. That being said, however, the two programs follow the exact same model aside from the fact that all of the courses at Keele are in English.

Here’s a bit of a map-out of how Practicum has panned out for me:

1st year iBA:
I was accepted into Direct Entry B.Ed, so I took a mandatory workshop-style practicum course that met eight times throughout the year. We reflected upon our own experiences as students and how we see ourselves in our future roles in the classroom.

2nd year iBA- ED 1:
ED 1 requires teacher candidates to log at least 50 hours at a community placement! This is a great stepping stone to teaching in the classroom. My placement was with a program called Writing in the City at TYPE books, a bookstore on Queen West in the Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood. You may recognize the store from this video that went viral last year:

My community placement allowed me to help grade six students get their creativity moving on paper, and the results were extremely rewarding! I heard similar feedback from other TCs (teacher candidates), saying that their community placements were a great way to prepare for ED 2 practicum.

3rd year iBA- ED 2:
ED 2 is the year teacher candidates start teaching in the classroom! Every TC is assigned to an MT (Mentor Teacher) who teaches your teachable subject, and you spend one full day a week for the entire year in said classroom. Gradually, you’ll be teaching a new lesson every week under the supervision of your MT! Once the school year is over for everyone else at York, it continues for TCs (I know, I know, but it gets better!). You’ll be spending 20 straight school days in the classroom, teaching all day/every day. This was, without a doubt, the happiest, most exhausting, exhilarating, and rewarding month of my life! I will never forget the sixty-something students that I saw in the classroom (which was at a school in the Pape area, by the way) every day, because I helped them to love their second language and they reaffirmed my love for educating.

4th year iBA- ED stop-out year for exchange:
I had the option of taking my stop-out and going on exchange in my third year, but I had to complete certain requirements for my iBA before I could jet off, so fourth year it was! While I’m on exchange I’m only taking courses that count towards my major; no ED whatsoever.

5th year iBA- ED 3:
When I’m back at Glendon/York next year I’ll be back in the classroom (a different one, that is!) doing a Practicum that’s structured exactly the same as the ED 2 Practicum. I have a few ideas up my sleeve for some really awesome stuff to try out for my Practicum next year; it’s never too early to start preparing!

So, there it is! I hope this was laid out clearly, because I know I was very confused when I entered the program in my first year. Whether you’re applying to York or Glendon’s Education program or just stopping by for a read, let me know if you have any questions or comments about the program! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂