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)

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. 🙂


    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.

      Liked by 1 person

  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!! 🙂 ❤


  3. It was never easy, was it, Colline! Determination finally paid off. Thank goodness you are settled in a job you love at last. Teaching French to little ones must be fun? 🙂


    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.


  4. 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!


  5. 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.


    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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