Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Guilt Reigns

I had been struggling with the decision of whether or not to leave my current job for the past month or so. There are many reasons why I have been considering this. Some are personal, others are job-related, but mostly because other opportunities have presented themselves.

I have signed on to teach at both the university (first-year astronomy course) and the college (first-year math), and both start in January. I will also be volunteering with a high-school physics teacher. These are great opportunities to investigate more options in the field of education, and I just couldn’t pass them up.

So, even though I have many, MANY, good (even excellent!) reasons to leave my current job, I still feel THE GUILT!

“But I’m leaving right in the MIDDLE of the term!”

“Are they going to be able to find a replacement for me?”

“Is the student going to be negatively impacted because of me?”

and don’t forget the favourite:

“Everyone is going to think I’m AWFUL!”

I spoke to numerous people about this decision, both inside and outside education, at different points in their careers, and asked their advice. One central theme was that the only person who will look out for me is myself.  And if there’s one thing in the time since my stroke is I need to look out for myself.

So, yes, the guilt is there, but it will lesson with time (isn’t time amazing for things like that?). And, come January with all of its new starts, the excitement will overtake those feelings. I’m already getting excited!

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Hair, Teaching, and Crap

Thanks to everyone who voted on my hair poll! I was a bit surprised how BIG of a blowout the sleek bob had 🙂 I still haven’t fully decided, and my next hair appointment isn’t until the end of June, so you’ll have to wait until then to find out which way I go!

Some VERY exciting news! I just completed the last requirement for my BEd on Friday, so I am done the program!!!! Next steps are to attend my convocation (I missed my MSc and PhD ceremonies, so I’m going to this one), and get my certification approved by the Ontario College of Teachers. Oh, and get a job of course :S

On that note, I have been offered a position as an MCAT test preparation instructor. It’s part time, and only for a couple of months, but it’ll be a nice way to bring in some much needed cash…oh, and get more teaching experience of course 😉 I also applied for my first REAL teaching position…exciting, but nerve-wracking!

In completely unrelated news: I am so tired of cleaning up CRAP (literal CRAP). C’s only 1.5 years old, and still in diapers, so that will be going on for a while yet. E’s hitting the gross boy stage where he gets CRAP in the weirdest and disgusting places. When will this be OVER?

Quiet Times

Sorry for the dead silence on the blog lately!

I started my second practicum placement March 9th, and it’s been awesomely busy!

I was just observing the first week, but I got a good idea on how different math classes are from science classes. My associate teacher is great, especially with incorporating technology into the classroom, and always improving her lessons each year.

My first week teaching had me doing a mini-unit on scatter plots with the grade nine classes. Then, in my second week, I started connecting the algebra and scatter plots units with an introduction to linear relations (think slope & y=mx+b).

Next week, we’ll get into more specifics with classes on the standard form equation for straight lines (Ax+by=C), 3 ways to graph, parallel & perpendicular lines, vertical & horizontal lines. There will be a cool math/art assignments where the students will use Desmos to draw their names 🙂

I will be visited by a faculty advisor on Friday during one my classes and be assessed. Not really nervous about this yet, but I’m sure I will be that day! Thankfully I teach that class twice a day, and will have a run-through before they come!

Can’t believe I’m already halfway done this practicum.

Oh, and I’m helping with the girl’s soccer team! Wooot!!

Course Selection

Well, I have taken another couple steps closer to starting school in September! I paid tuition (OUCH!! Haven’t done that in a while) and registered for courses.

Since some have been asking what I’ll be doing/learning, I thought I’d share the summaries for the courses I’ll be taking (these are not the full descriptions).

Core Courses (everyone takes)

Practicum: The practicum is integral to teacher education, offering teacher candidates opportunities to learn first-hand about schools, classrooms, curriculum, students, and teachers.

Educational Psychology and Special Education: Basic concepts, principles, and theories of learning and human development as they apply to teaching and learning; particular attention to the education of students with exceptionalities.

Social Foundations of Education: A multi-disciplinary course addressing the historical, political, philosophical, social, and legal dimensions of the organization of Ontario education.

Teaching Subjects

Curriculum & Pedagogy in Mathematics (2 courses): An introduction to exemplary practices in the teaching of mathematics

Curriculum & Pedagogy in General Science (2 courses): An introduction to the nature of science and technology education, how students learn science, and contemporary curricula for science and technology.

Co-Curricular Courses (mandatory for teaching subject(s)

Teaching Environmental Science, Grades 9 to 12: An introduction to basic concepts in environmental science and to the integration of environmental science with subject areas in the secondary school curriculum.

Supporting Inquiry Science: The theory and practice of designing inquiry-based learning opportunities for students in grades 7-12 science.

Electives

Classroom Management and Assessment (This elective is “strongly recommended”, so everyone is pre-registered – so isn’t really an elective!): An overview of theories of student behaviour and classroom management, and of assessment and evaluation, with emphasis on classroom applications.

Special Topic: LGB2TQ Issues in Education (all students must choose 1 social justice elective): This course will foster a comprehensive and critical understanding of the political and cultural landscape of education for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, two-spirit, queer/questioning (LGBT2Q) youth.

Computers in Education: An introduction to the computer technology used in Ontario classrooms. (My plan is to drop this course so I can do an independent study on unconscious gender bias in the classroom).

Special Topic: Education Philosophy: No course summary yet (but I thought the title sounded interesting enough).

All of these courses sound really interesting, and I’m super excited to get to it already!

It’s Time

I am SO ready to start school and get OUT OF THIS HOUSE.

I’m starting to resent having to be at home.

I get jealous of DH who “gets” to go to work, and has soccer games one night a week.

Evan is clearly ready to move on to something more challenging, so I’m not worried about sending him to kindergarten anymore.

Carter loves hanging out with other babies, loves other people, and doing new things, so I’m not worried about sending him to daycare too early (like I felt we had to do with Evan).

Sometimes my brain feels like it’s turning to mush with lack of activity. I feel better when I use it for something other than feeding, changing, disciplining, doing laundry, etc., ETC.

I need a challenge. I need to do something that interests me and keeps me busy in a GOOD way.

It’s TIME. Only 29 days until school starts…

Answered My Own Question

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post about second guessing my decision to go to teacher’s college! In responding to the comments, I think I answered my own question about whether it’ll be worth it.

In summary:
– I often second guess myself for any big decision, so this is a normal reaction for me.
– I know all the stats about how hard it is to become/be a teacher in Ontario
– I’m familiar with how Ontario classrooms work, and know it’s not an easy job at all.
– …that being said, I’m prepared to “do my time” in order to succeed as a teacher
– …and also, my additional qualifications, experience, and connections in the school board(s), will help me a lot.
– I’m excited to actually LIKE and ENJOY my course work and projects (maybe even for the first time in my post-secondary schooling career)
– Though I enjoyed doing outreach over the past few years, I found it was never “enough”. I crave the continuity with a class that teaching gives (not just dropping in and walking out).
– When I think about applying to other jobs, I find myself thinking “but it’s not teaching, and not what I want to spend my time doing”
– I know I can’t be a stay-at-home-mom to be happy and to therefore be the best mom for my kids (I’ve known this since Evan was a baby, so I don’t even know why I put it in the post as an option — it’s not)
– Regardless of if I go back to work or go to school, the kids will be okay…and THRIVE really, and they can see me thrive too (very important!)
– The timing is right in terms of the program (last year it’ll be offered as a 1-year program)
– …and I don’t have the obligation of a job to go back to after maternity leave.
– …and Evan will be starting school and Carter can be in daycare (yay for only 1 kid in daycare at a time!).
– ..and we have the financial ability for me to do this now.
– Yes, it’s a good amount of $$ upfront, but losing savings is much better than going in debt (which we were prepared to do for me to do this).
– It’ll be so worth it if teaching works out, and I finally get to achieve that dream/goal –  how awesome would that be??
– The worst that can happen if I go is we fork out the $$  and I end up finding work doing something else. That’s a pretty good “bad” side.

So, to summarize the summary: I need to stop second guessing myself and finally go with my gut on this decision. I know it won’t be all puppy dogs and roses, but I also know it will be the start of a new and exciting chapter in my career (regardless of where it takes me). Everything seems to be telling me to GO FOR IT…so I’d be pretty stupid to not grab this opportunity while I can!

2nd Thoughts

and 3rd and 4th…about going to teacher’s college.

I keep wondering if it’s really the best decision to go back to school in the Fall to get a degree to be able to teach at the K-12 level (requirement in Canada to do so).

Yes, I’m excited to do it, and it’s what I’ve wanted to do for many years. It’s really my last chance to go – it’s the last year it’s a one-year program (I am SO not doing 2 years of school, for time and financial reasons), I applied* and got in, we have the financial ability to allow for it, and I feel like the last few years of being in science education & outreach has led up to this.

But…

so many Buts.

The biggest is financial.  It will cost us anywhere from 60-80% of our savings to cover tuition and the difference between DH’s salary and our monthly bills for 8-12 months (the program runs Sept. – May, but could be until the following Sept. to find work (hopefully)). Is it selfish of me to put that kind of financial strain on our family?

The hope is, in the long run, it will be worth it. Teachers here make a very decent salary, with great benefits, and awesome vacation time. As well, of course, as making a different in so many lives! So, if I can find work relatively quickly, it will pay off.

But, what if I don’t find work as a teacher (as many people are finding themselves in that position lately)? Are we just throwing that money down the toilet? Then I’d be back to square-one…no job and less money…and then what?

Maybe, instead, I should just find a job that I’m qualified for right now. No, it probably won’t be a dream job. Perhaps that was something I should have considered a few years back (definitely not happy with some decisions I made), but now the needs of my family should outweigh my career desires. If I got a job, we wouldn’t have to worry about paying for childcare, vacations, or renovations that we’d like to do.

Another But is the timing — School would start in the Fall, and Evan will be starting kindergarten, and Carter will not even be a year old. I feel like I should be there for the kids during these times of transition. I wonder if I should consider staying at home for a few years until both kids are in school full time before pursuing a different career (though I know I’d find a hard time going to school if it’s a 2-year program).

I keep flip flopping back and forth, and don’t know which way to go. Do I take the path I’ve wanted for years, and put us in not-so-great position financially for the (hopefully) short term? Or do I forget about that path, and focus on reality and find suitable work now? Or completely give up on working for now and stay at home to support our children in their early years (which won’t last forever)?

Oh, great blogosphere, what would you do?

*While in the hospital after my stroke…if that doesn’t prove my dedication/desire to do this, I don’t know what does.

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