My name's Alex Dulanovic and I'll be one of the OISE student ambassadors this year. It's my first year in the Masters of Teaching in Teaching (Intermediate/Senior). My two teachables are English and History.
I guess I was always headed in the direction of teaching, but, at the time, things didn't feel so certain. My first experience working with kids came from working at a summer camp at the age of 15. Looking back, it was a dream job: playing sports all day, free freezies, working a nice tan, and being around other staff of a similar age with similar interests. And a part of me must've enjoyed it because I did it for 5 out of the 6 following summers! However, during the non-summer seasons, I worked jobs in other industries. I didn't like selling credit cards at my retail gig, though. Restaurant work ended too late. Painting parking lots wasn't great for my back or lungs. While many fall in love with a craft the first time they do it, I chose to teach out of a process of elimination. It was the job I minded the least.
I moved to Korea when I was 23. It was then that I fell in love with the craft. I worked alongside other teachers, who later turned into friends, that inspired me. Over pork belly and soups, we talked about our favourite moments with students, things that worked in the classrooms, and what we would do when we were in charge of a curriculum. Luckily, every new job I got gave me more freedom in planning my lessons.
Two weeks before the border closed down, I moved to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), Vietnam. It was a difficult year as the only constant was change. One month I was teaching in person. The next, we went online. One week the news was good. The next, not so good. One week, I could travel. The next, we weren't allowed to leave our neighbourhood. At the same time, I was reaching a point of career stagnation. While I'd enjoyed teaching ESL, I was ready for a new challenge: teaching back home. Because of these two factors, I applied to UofT.
I still remember getting the acceptance letter. I was at my friend Ryan's house and we were playing Overcooked 2. In between virtually slicing up fish and boiling pasta, I got a buzz on my phone. It was an email about funding--not the acceptance letter. I said, "Guys... I don't want to get too excited, but I think I got accepted." I went on my application profile and saw the offer. I hugged my two friends in a bittersweet moment. While I was ecstatic about the opportunity, I was sad to bid farewell to my teaching-abroad life. It was a good one.
As I'm writing this it's almost been a month in the program, almost been two months back home. I'm enjoying both experiences.
On top of helping out prospective students through our e-mail at email@example.com, I'm excited to host the OISE Voices Podcast. I genuinely love speaking about education and I'm excited to tap into the vast network of bright minds and ideas at OISE.