*This post was written by Caitlin Cheung, a MT student in the Primary/Junior stream.
Greetings Blog-o-sphere. When writing my last post, I realized that I throw around acronyms or words around that many of you may not know. It’s like we have a specific MT vocabulary. So I decided that I would clarify some words and provide my definitions for them. So here we go!
Teacher Candidate (TC)- That’s what we call the students in the MT program, or in any education program for that matter. We haven’t earned our stripes as Teachers yet but we are suitable candidates for the job! In practicum you will be probably introduced as a TC or Student Teacher by your AT.
Cohort-These are the other TCs you will be studying with for the next 2 years of the program. The MT program is huge that all TCs are separated into specific groups or cohorts by their grade level. For example, I am in PJ 161, which means I can teach Primary/Junior. 161 is our cohort number.
Primary Division-Kindergarten to Grade 3
Junior Division- Grade 4-6
Intermediate Division-Grade 7-12
Practicum-The period of practice teaching in a classroom/learning environment. Each TC should get a different practicum site every fall and winter, and hopefully in a different division. For example, I had a Grade 3 class in the fall (primary) and I am currently in a Grade 6 class in the winter (junior).
Before school starts, the Practicum Team asks which school boards you would prefer to work in. You are asked to give three options. It is likely that you will receive your first option, but I know of some people getting their second instead. You are unable to pick which school you want to teach at, just the specific board. The school boards have to be located in the GTA.
Field Experience Days-These are two or three days selected by the MT program for you to go and observe your practicum classroom. You are not required to teach, but if you are like me you can’t help yourself. I often spend the morning to familiarize myself with the classroom routine and strategies used by the AT. Then in the afternoon, I try and walk around the classroom and help out with the lessons.
Associate Teacher (AT)-This is your mentor teacher in the classroom. They should be the person you turn to for support and guidance when you are in practicum. They also evaluate mid-way through and at the end of your practicum. The final evaluations become attached to your Master’s transcripts, so when you apply for teaching positions, school boards and employers will have access to them.
Educational Assistant (EA)-EA’s are in the classroom to help students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Program Plan (IPP). In my last placement, I had an EA in my class and she brought so much life into the classroom. She was like our little ray of sunshine.
Faculty Advisor-This is an OISE MT professor who comes to supervise you during practicum. They visit you twice, once in the first two weeks and once in the last two weeks. If there are any issues you don’t feel comfortable telling your AT, you should seek guidance from the Faculty Advisor.
I hope this cleared up any confusion you may have!