I left South Africa with post graduate qualifications in Education and nine years teaching experience. Upon our arrival in Canada, my husband and I inquired about the cost of daycare and the prohibitive fees led to our decision that I be a stay at home mom until my girls were independent.
The time came when both my girls were at school full time and a little less dependent on me. I found out about teaching in Toronto and discovered I had to be certified with the Ontario College of Teachers. I visited the organisation and began the process – which took a long eighteen months! With the help of my family in South Africa, transcripts were sent from the university I had attended in Johannesburg.
Once I was certified, my wait to teach did not end. The next step was to get hired by a school board. Even though I had French (which I was assured would get me a position), my applications bore no fruit. I volunteered for many years at my daughters’ school and eventually a principal picked up the phone and made a phone call to the Board. I got the interview, spoke to two people and wrote a page essay in French. Not soon after, I was hired as a daily supply teacher.
For six months I worked as a daily substitute for teachers who were sick or who were attending workshops. I experienced a range of schools – some of them near home, others an hour away by public transit. At the beginning of the next academic school year, I obtained a Long Term Occasional position replacing a teacher who was taking maternity leave. A year later we celebrated in my household when I interviewed for a full time position and got it.
My experience teaching in Toronto has been different to my South African one. No longer am I teaching second language English to high school students. Instead I am now introducing five year olds to the language of French. In addition, I have had to learn the way in which the Canadian school system works, and have had to adapt to the expectations of teachers in this city. I am thankful for the experience, though, as it has increased my effectiveness as a teacher and has introduced me to different teaching methodologies.
If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: teach)