Teachers College: What to Expect

When I started this blog one of the things I was worried about most was falling out of love with blogging and losing the motivation to keep up with posts. Being back at school and finding hardly any down time, I've realized how silly I was to ever be worried about that. The problem isn't the lack of motivation, but my brain wanting to blog about five different things all at once but not finding any down time to do so.  

Starting teachers college I had no idea what to expect. In undergrad, you're constantly told "marks mean everything". Even if I tried to convince myself otherwise, the bottom line was... I was studying because I needed to maintain a certain GPA not because what I was learning was engaging. During lectures I wasn't being taught anything. I was being talked at. I was forced to memorize minuscule facts that seeped out of my brain the minute I regurgitated it onto an exam. I was forced to take courses I had no interest in because it fit my module requirements I needed to graduate. Let's be serious, Google explained things far better than some of my professors did. 

For all of you out there thinking about teachers college, you are in for a pleasant surprise! The minute you start you will be told "marks mean nothing". You will spend the first few weeks obsessing over marks (because that's how you've been trained to think) but, your professors are so right.... it's not about the marks at all. They don't just tell you that, they actually mean it. They want you to learn. ACTUALLY learn. It's not about what information you can memorize and regurgitate onto paper, it's about thinking critically and reflecting on your own growth. It's about coming to every class (on time) and participating. It's about showing up and being present and learning without the fear of failing.... without the fear of grade point averages. It's about your ability to work with others. 80% of your class time will be spent working in groups, and about 90% of all your major assignments will be group work. So yeah, marks mean nothing because you will do great as long as you're willing to ACTUALLY learn.

At UOIT's Faculty of Education we start our practicum in November. Since we have no midterms or finals (the case for all faculty of education programs in Ontario), September and October seem the busiest (the complete opposite to what we're all used to in undergrad). Your Faculty of Education may have a different practicum schedule, so things may not be all the same but here are some things I've figure out in the last few weeks:

  1. Majority of class time will be spent in groups. MAKE FRIENDS... or you truly will not make it through.  
  2. Self-reflection is critical for success. For some, this will come naturally.  Don't worry though, with each new week you'll get better and better. 
  3. Google Docs will become your best friend... A vital tool for all of your group assignments. 
  4. You will be confused and overwhelmed every waking minute during the first week. Don't worry, that feeling of confusion will pass. This is another reason why making friends is so important. If you're worrying all on your own, you will go crazy! 
  5. Don't worry about memorizing mundane facts. Those days are over! 
  6. Don't be late don't be late don't be late. 
  7. Show up show up show up. 
  8. Join Tribes. You won't know what it is when you're asked to register, but trust me, DO IT!!!! You'll be so happy you did. If your Faculty of Ed doesn't offer it, check their site here. You can always enrol in a class yourself! 

Before starting teachers college I use to ask my teacher friends what I should expect going into a Bachelor of Education program. For some reason none of them were ever really able to tell me what exactly to expect. I was never sure why it was so difficult for them put it into words but with how fast paced everything is going I'm kind of starting to understand why it was so difficult for them.  I hope that by me writing all of this out (as it happens) I'll be able to help anyone out there who has questions of what to expect during the program. 

I'd promise to post more regularly... but if I did I think I'd just be lying. So please, bare with me as I try to squeeze these teachers college related posts in-between my grandma like sleeping schedule (up at 6AM and bed by 9PM...). I know, it's pretty embarrassing. 

A 24 year old Canadian living (& teaching) in Shenzhen, China.