For most people, a job is just a job. Work is a means to an end. You render 8 hours every weekday and you get paid accordingly. It is transactional and straightforward. While other people find their passions within their 9-to-5, it isn’t necessarily required.
Needless to say, teaching is less of a job and more of a vacation.
Regardless of the assigned grade level, teachers give a lot of themselves to their students. More often than not, work doesn’t stop when they clock out for the day. Most teachers, at least the good ones, are heavily involved in their student’s lives - in and outside the school grounds. They are responsible for shaping the lives of young children and clearing a path for their future.
Truth be told, not everyone is cut out to become a teacher. This vocation requires a certain kind of person. A person that is passionate, generous, patient, and selfless. If you are thinking about building a teaching career in Canada, you have come to the right place. This article would explore what it takes to become a teacher in the Great White North.
Becoming a Teacher in Canada
The educational system in Canada is one of the best in the world. They have one of the smallest class sizes as well as one of the highest literacy rates across the globe. Of course, the amazing feats can only be attributed to Canadian teachers who give their all to their students.
Becoming a teacher in Canada is quite competitive. After all, the country takes care of its educators pretty well. Below is an abridged guide on how you can achieve your teaching dreams:
Decide on Where you Want to Teach
As with any other location, a university degree is required of teachers. However, in Canada, certification from the provinces and territories is needed in order to be employed in a school. While there are exceptions to the rule, different areas within the country ask for different teaching requirements.
The first step in reaching your teaching goals is deciding on where you want to teach. This decision can heavily determine the university you choose to acquire your teaching degree. Moreover, deciding early on would save you the hassle of having to acquire several certifications.
Consider Grade Level and Subject
In as much as not everyone can be a teacher, there are individuals who are better suited for teaching young children. Likewise, there are educators that are more effective with older students in high school or college.
Determining the grade level and the subject you intend to teach is as important as deciding where you want to teach. This factor also informs your decision on where to get your degree as well as what course to take.
Choosing the grade level and subject you intend to teach requires a lot of introspection. If you can’t decide just yet, best to volunteer or take on tutoring gigs to test the waters.
Get a Teaching Degree
Arguably the most important step, a teaching degree is a non-negotiable requirement for most schools across Canada. The decision on which school to apply to and which degree to take should be a little less stressful considering the first two steps.
Nevertheless, more than getting into the university that you choose, it is important to get good grades and to take each subject seriously. After all, each lecture is designed to help you become a good teacher.
Once you finish your degree, certification is the last thing that is keeping you from your dream vocation. Certification requirements vary depending on the area you want to teach in. For the most part, this certification would require a written test. In some areas, Quebec in particular, you might need to take a test in both English and French.
Certifications need to be maintained. Again, the requirements of keeping certifications depend on your province or territory.
Traits of a Good Teacher
Again, it cannot be stressed enough, not everyone can become a teacher. This profession is more than just a job. It takes a special person who understands the importance of their duties and is willing to make sacrifices to become an educator.
Good Teachers Have Strong Communication Skills
It is one thing to be a subject-matter expert but knowing how to explain complex concepts in a simple manner is another skill altogether. Good teachers are able to condense complicated terms, concepts, and processes enough for their students to have a working knowledge of the subject. It might seem like a rather simple skill but you would be surprised by how only a few people are able to explain a topic effectively.
A good teacher should have strong communication skills that enable them to get information across in an engaging and interesting way.
Good Teachers Know How to Listen
Especially if you intend to work with young students, knowing how to listen is an important skill. Most often than not, teachers need to read between the lines in order to understand their students’ needs. Classrooms, after all, should be a space for discussion and conversation. It isn’t made solely for teachers to perform soliloquies.
Being a good listener helps teachers determine the best way to impart information to a child.
Good Teachers Adapt
Even with years of experience, great teachers would tell you that classrooms can be unpredictable. For the most part, it doesn’t matter if you have taught the same class for years, different students call for different things.
A good teacher knows how to pivot and adjust his or her lecture to the temperament of the class. Being adaptable is key to being effective.
Good Teachers have Empathy
One of the pitfalls most adults fall into is undermining the needs and struggles of young people. Adults tend to dismiss the situations children might be struggling with. A good teacher is able to surmount this pitfall and treat their children with empathy.
Forming a connection is all about understanding where a person is coming from. Becoming an effective educator entails more than dishing information. It requires being understanding and empathetic.
Good Teachers are Patient
There is nothing easy about being a teacher. Especially when you are dealing with young children, a good teacher must have the patience to understand the behavior of these kids without any form of judgment or frustration.
Pros of Becoming a Teacher
In Canada, teachers are treated fairly well. They receive benefits from the state as well as a relatively handsome paycheck. Aside from the competitive salary, below are other benefits of becoming a teacher:
First and Foremost, Job Security
Unless we are able to download information directly to our nervous system, there would never come a time when the teaching profession becomes obsolete. The career may evolve but there would always be a need for teachers.
Regardless of where you decide to teach, once you have established your career, you would always find a teaching job no matter where you go. It is a certain kind of job security that most professions do not have.
Two Words: Summer Vacation
Summer vacations are probably the most known benefit of being a teacher. And true enough, having two months off is a good perk that not a lot of people get to enjoy. Most teachers use this break in order to recharge and prepare for the upcoming school year. After all, teaching can take a mental and physical toll. Once you have become an educator, you would know how important these breaks are for your overall well-being.
Teachers Enjoy Reasonable Hours
While it is true that some teachers have to bring some of their work home, for the most part, their jobs start at 7 and end at 3. Teachers aren’t required to work on the weekends and aside from the long summer break, they also get to enjoy spring vacation and winter time-off.
Overall, there are days when teachers are required to put in more hours than their usual classroom schedule. However, it would be very rare, especially in Canada, to find an educator that has to put in overtime every day.
Teachers are Able to Share their Passions
Becoming a teacher is rewarding. It is a profession that enables a person to share their passion to young people who are eager to listen. While burnout still happens within the industry, working with children means that there is no shortage of inspiration within the confines of the classroom. It is an invigorating and life changing job.
Teachers Can Change the World
Very few people can say that their jobs change the world. For teachers, this statement is justified. Educators are able to shape young minds and steer the future of their students. They are influential and are important in the community.
Choosing teaching as a lifelong career is a big decision. It is important to take your time and evaluate yourself. If you want to test the waters, best to start with tutoring. At present, there are plenty of tutoring opportunities you can choose from. Check out Superprof today to learn more about teaching as a career.