Updated: Jan 11, 2019
In this Q&A, Jordan Guerrero-Martinez, MT'19, discusses what experiences led him to OISE's Master of Teaching program, how students can get involved with their student community and the 'life hacks' he has for new and prospective OISE students.
1) Tell us about yourself. What are you currently studying and where did you complete your undergraduate studies at previously?
My name is Jordan Guerrero Martinez. I consider myself a creative who dabbles into photography, video editing, and music, with a strong passion for social justice. I am a huge lover of both old and new school hip-hop, and love all things health, sports, and outdoors. It therefore may not come as a surprise that I completed my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and Health Science at York University, as a love for sport has pretty much become a prerequisite for this degree. I am currently in my second year studying education in the Master of Teaching program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). My goal is to complete this degree and become a certified secondary school teacher in Ontario, where my specialization subjects will be Biology and Health and Physical Education.
2) How did you become interested in this area of study? What were your motivations to attend OISE?
In grade 12 I had little direction and did not really know what I wanted to do with my life. That is until I took a course called PSK 4U1: Exercise Science, now known as, Introduction to Kinesiology. My teacher Mr. Mariani inspired me, and the human body along with human health became nothing short of my jam! With my new found love for health, the idea that I could trigger this same passion in other people resonated with me heavily, putting me on the path towards becoming an educator.
At the beginning of my long journey in Kinesiology and Health Science at York University, I was a shy individual who could not have a single conversation with anyone. Come the end of my degree, thanks to my participation in clubs such as Students Supporting SickKids and Student Health Ambassadors at York, I become an individual who loved to socialize, mentor, and connect with other people. Becoming comfortable with myself was the greatest gift York University gave me. This served as further motivation to become an educator, as I realized that I could help students achieve this same accomplishment far before they get to university.
Come the end of my degree I had conquered Kinesiology at York University, and I wanted to become uncomfortable again as I believe it is key in the process of continual growth. Hence, this was one of the main reasons for why I wanted to attend OISE, along with their superb ranking in teacher education, excellent professors, and the glorious ever so great cohort model.
3) Are you involved in any other volunteer or extra-curricular focused activities?
At the moment I serve as an OISE Student Ambassador, where I provide information about the OISE program and my personal experience within the program to prospective students. I also just became a second year mentor, where I will take on two first year students and provide them with tips and tricks on how to not only survive, but excel at practicum. Despite my hectic semester, I am hoping that I could get involved in intramural sports with my peers from my Phys-Ed teachable class. If it isn’t obvious, a team full of Phys-Ed students with Kinesiology majors is likely to take home the cup in whatever sport you name!
4) What do you hope to accomplish as an OISE Student Ambassador?
As an OISE Student Ambassador I hope to provide clarity about the details and function of the MT program, and attract students to this program. Given that my job as an OISE student ambassador involves using OISE social media, I would like to use it in a fashion that unites individuals together. For example, running student interviews on random questions for the OISE Instagram with individuals from different cohorts. Lastly, I want to share all the little tips and tricks so that you as an OISE student can enter the program and hit the ground running.
5) What are your top U of T or OISE ‘life-hacks’?
The information you are about to read is top secret and will allow you to thrive at OISE in ways that you never thought humanly possible.
Microwaves: There are only microwaves on the 5th and 12th floor, and as you arrive to heat up your lunch at 12 p.m. there will always be a line. What a lot of people don’t know is that many professors are flexible with the scheduling of your class breaks and times-- all you have to do is ask.
Tim Hortons: It is 8:45 a.m. Your class starts at 9 a.m. You have yet to get your coffee fix, and if you don’t, the world will feel like it is crumbling beneath you. Thus, you enter the OISE Tim Hortons and find a line from the cash register all the way to the exit. You can stand there like everybody else and make the line, or if you are smart you would realize that, “I am only getting a coffee”. If you are only getting a coffee then you can enter the express, usually empty, coffee line tucked to the left side. This is typically open from early morning till 2:00 PM. Sounds very simple, but I have peers in my cohort who just found out about this now after having been in the program for a year. Enjoy and keep it on the DL!
6) How can students get involved in the OISE community?
One way to get involved in the OISE community is to attend the socials. A variety of different events are hosted by OISE and the Master of Teaching Student Association (MTSA) such as meet and greets, candy apple socials, public presentations, and bar nights etc. These are great ways to meet people outside of your cohort and build your social network at OISE. However, you need to pay attention to your email, because these invitations may get drowned out by the many other emails you will receive from OISE in a single day.
One simple way is to join a club! OISE has a variety of different clubs that allow for volunteering such as the MTSA or the Environmental and Sustainability club. Also, once you get into second year, I would highly recommend applying for a job/work study position at OISE. These jobs introduce you to many of the staff and usually involve your efforts in planning/running OISE events, getting you deeply involved within the OISE community.
7) So far, what has been the most memorable moment for you in your studies at OISE?
There have been many memorable moments for me while studying at OISE, but two specifically stand out. In my Biology teachable class, our incredible professor Jane Forbes, took us on a field trip to High Park during the second week of class. I myself had never been to High Park, and it was a great experience that allowed everyone to bond as a class right off off-the-bat. Plus, it was here that I quickly learned how awesome experiential/outdoor education could be.
The second was this past summer, where as a cohort we were all grinding it out trying to make it to the end of summer school. We decided to plan an outing to Toronto Island after class, where we spent the day riding bikes, playing Frisbee, and relaxing. We then went out for food and drinks to conclude the night. This served as the perfect decompressor near the end of summer school and was simply a perfect summer day!
8) What is your favourite thing about OISE?
My favourite thing about OISE is probably the cohort model. I shall discuss this more in a future blog post, but your cohort truly becomes your family. I do not think I would have been able to survive this program without them!
Have questions for Jordan? Comment below, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org