Courtney Langton

Courtney is an aspiring high school teacher. Her teachables are History and English, but she's happy to teach anything that doesn't involve numbers or formulas. Her particular interest is in promoting gender equity and anti-oppression both in and outside the classroom. She writes a detailed To-Do list every morning, and enjoys nothing more than a good book and a plate of bacon on a rainy Saturday.

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan's primary interest is moral education. His teachable subjects are English and Music. He encourages critical thinking and hopes to teach his students to recognize, and strive for, what is truly important to them without forgetting to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded along the way. He likes making analogies and his favourite is one that compares life to jumping on a trampoline.

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Progressively Unnecessary
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So You Want To Teach?
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ARCHIVES: June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 March 2010

RE: Practicum Woes - Part 1
Thursday, July 2, 2009

I had my own practicum woes last year. Con-Ed practicum during years 1-3 are either arranged by the student or the practicum office, depending on the school board. York Region (my home school board) was one of those "arrange your own practicum" boards that require students to make their own arrangements with the principals at whatever schools they wish to teach. So I did. And nobody was willing to take me in. Eventually, I had a teacher at Markham District High School who accepted me and even he passed me onto another teacher within the first day of my prac (for some reason...). Needless to say, I was feeling unloved by all! But I'll always remember those days in between January (when I began my search for a host school/teacher) and April (when MDHS and Ms. Valencia finally took me in) when I was basically being told repeatedly that nobody was willing to take me in.

It's an uncomfortable, depressing, and discouraging feeling to know that nobody wants you. So I can fully empathize with what Courtney is going through right now.

It's tough. And like Courtney says, it's a product of supply outweighing demand. And assuredly, some of you will run into this problem at some point, whether it's being unable to find your own placement (like me) or being told by the school that they've been unable to find you a placement. If you don't, consider yourself fortunate. It's all par-for-the-course when you're able to find a school, but realizing that you have nowhere to teach can be a very discouraging thing.

And we admit, part of it has to do with us being in Con-Ed. I have a friend who also one of the 100 students Courtney mentioned who was told that she didn't have a school in which to teach. She didn't seem particularly perturbed about it (despite, if she will forgive me for saying so, being the perturbable type), which leads me to believe that being in Con-Ed might have made us more susceptible to these hiccups that invariably happen along the path to being full-time professionals. But that is just my hypothesis. I could be completely wrong...

But to all of you (including Courtney) who encounter this problem - particularly the ones who run into the same problem Courtney has - I would encourage you all to remember that sometimes, these things happen despite all your efforts and hard work. Certainly, Courtney's situation has come about through no fault of her own. And I would encourage you all to remember that in the grand scheme of things, this is NOT the thing that will determine how good of a teacher you are or how successful you can be. Do remember that no matter what, they will find you a place to teach, and that you will only be required to teach there for a year. Remember that you've gotten this far for a reason; you've succeeded because you are a good teacher, not because you've taught in good schools. Some of us might not have a great relationship with our host teachers. Others might have a easy, problem-less placement experience and then break down during their first years of teaching because they haven't encountered enough adversity.

To all our fellow candidates. Remember: in the end, the only thing you can control is the effort, enthusiasm, and inspiration you bring with you and into your class. If you are someone like Courtney, who is certainly not lacking in any of the fine teaching qualities I just mentioned, please believe in yourself enough to know that you possess these attributes and understand that as long as you are cognizant of this, you will be able to transmit this into your teaching style, no matter where you end up. Learn; adapt; and most importantly, trust in yourself. Maybe your placement will, indeed, end up being far more challenging than you thought it would, but this is the time to rise to that challenge and prove to yourself, and the rest of the world, that you're the kind of teacher we know you can be.

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Jonathan posted at 8:32 PM - Comments (0)


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