Day 11: On the Way to Teach

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.

photo (10)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)

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27 thoughts on “Day 11: On the Way to Teach

  1. I admire your determination in your career journey. I am an RECE working with infants and toddlers, but we all play our various roles in their trajectories. Congrats on a full time position! Hope you are enjoying your life in Canada. 🙂

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    1. There are many times when I do even though there are moments when I do miss the life and people in South Africa. As for my career – when you know what it is that you enjoy doing, it helps in getting to where you want to be. I have enjoyed teaching in the past and knew that it was what I wanted to continue doing.

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  2. Hey Colline – I really like how you said the wait helped you appreciate your position more – and wow, 18 mos. to get certified – sound alike that area has some dean good teachers!! 🙂 ❤

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    1. Working is certainly easier when you enjoy what you are doing. There are many fun moments in our class – and it is satisfying when you see a child begin to understand the new language in their life.

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  3. You are very strong to keep on pushing through. End result is giving you lots of joy and pleasure. I can fully relate to all you went and still are going through. In my case my age is really against me. I do not have the energy to go back teaching full time. Glad you got the opportunity to move forward!

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  4. No matter how educated or experienced one is in the homeland, there are always going to be challenges when searching for a job in the new country. Congrats to you, Colline, for persevering and getting that career. I doubt many would have kept trying as you did.

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    1. I have met many who did give up – some of them Canadian born. I kept on, however, as I knew working as a teacher would allow me to still spend time with my own children.

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