Getting teaching experience outside OISE

Guess what. You are not special. I am kidding you are wonderful, but for real you are not special. Not yet anyways! Here’s the deal, you worked hard to get into the OISE program and are thriving in your placements and school work. However, at the end of the day, you and your peers are all going to finish the MT program with 4 placements under your belt. So if you and let’s say, Drake, both have an MT and both go for a job interview, what is going to give you the edge over him? What can you do to make yourself special, that way you get hired asap and land a job! In this section, I’ll give you some tips on getting experience outside of OISE to help differentiate your teaching portfolio.

Jobs on Campus

Now I know I previously said that there is a fine balance between work and school, but there are an abundance of jobs on campus that can help you differentiate your teaching resume. Some, like TA positions, involve a strenuous amount of work. We don’t want those problems big fella, so I personally recommend going into the more niche and creative styled jobs that aren’t so demanding. Let me give you an example.

In September of my second year, I got a teaching job with the Engineering Outreach Office (EOO) at UofT. The EOO offers the Deep and Junior Deep Saturday programs from 1-4 PM. Here, elementary school students learn about awesome university level topics in science, technology, and engineering. I end up teaching one awesome topic to a different grade level every Saturday, rotating between grades 3 and 4, 5 and 6, or 7 and 8. Now, because these are university level topics and the kids are in elementary school, I need to adapt the topic each week and make sure that the concept is graspable for the specific grade/age level. This is a valuable skill for teachers to have, and now you can see how speaking on this experience would give me some edge in an interview.

For more information on the DEEP programs, click on the link below:

Check out photos from the program below:

Figure 1 - Nerve Circuits Lesson: Students in grade 7/8 collaborated with one another to create prosthetic hands with nerve endings (string) that allowed each digit to contract. They would later attach a motor powered by a circuit at the wrist area, allowing the hand to supinate and pronate!

Figure 2 - Ride Warriors Lesson: Grade 5 and 6 students collaborated using their new found knowledge of hydraulic systems to create a Drop Tower like that in which you see at Wonderland!


Elective Courses at OISE

Jordan, I thought you said we should be getting experience outside of OISE. So what is all of this Elective Courses at OISE shenanigans going on? Relax, I got you! During your first year at OISE you will not be able to choose any elective courses, all your courses are chosen for you. However, during your second year, you get to choose one elective for the fall semester and one elective for the winter semester. You can be boring and take another standard course with a million assignments and reflections, or you could live life on the edge and sign up for a practical styled course that takes you outside OISE! Make sense? Don’t worry friend, have I ever let you down? Here is an example.

I am currently enrolled in my second year at OISE, and one of my elective courses involves working at Downsview Secondary School. This school is located around Keele and Sheppard, and has a large population of English language learners who are reading far below grade level. Hence, at the beginning of the course we are given a specialized reading training, and are then assigned 3 students per teacher candidate. The entire course from there involves us visiting Downsview Secondary School every week, and using the tactics we learned in training to help our students improve their reading (decoding and comprehension) and get back up to grade level.

Imagine having your own class and half your kids cannot grasp the concept, not because it is too complicated but because they do not have the reading skill to comprehend it. Pretty sad no? These are valuable skills that any teacher would be lucky to have, using them to help their kids improve their reading AND in turn their grades. Now you see once again how this would be a great talking point in a job interview!

For more on the Downsview Literacy Program, stay tuned! I shall write an entire piece on it later in the year.

How you feeling? You best be feeling on top of the world, because I just gave you a big boost in getting a job. Knowledge is power! However, not without action. So get to it and apply yourself friend.

You got this. Keep striving scholar!

- Jordan Guerrero Martinez