Thoughts On Being Back In University For A Teaching Degree!

So back in August I told you I was heading back to university to earn my Bachelor of Education, however, I haven’t really written much about it on the blog. So today, in lieu of a post from some far-flung locale, I thought I’d give you an update as to how it’s going so far and how I even ended up here.

It’s a bit of a winding story, so I guess we should go back to Spring of 2010. That’s the year I graduated from university and I was a big mess. I had no clue what I wanted to do and there weren’t many job prospects in the city for someone with a degree in Humanities and German Studies. Who majors in that anyway? I knew that I wanted to live overseas and travel, but I didn’t necessarily know how to make that happen. Becoming a certified teacher certainly wasn’t on my mind.

Pffft, teaching… I can’t tell you how many times people told me I would make a great teacher when I was growing up. “You’re so good at explaining things.” “Kids really seem to like you!” “You’re a natural in front of the classroom!” Meanwhile in my head I was thinking that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Yet life has a funny way of leading you down the most unexpected, or perhaps most obvious paths, because I’ve essentially been ‘teaching’ in some kind of capacity ever since I got my first job at 16.

Some of my jobs throughout high school and university included tutoring elementary school students at a learning centre, working as a summer camp counsellor, and on top of that I also spent time volunteering at a girls’ home in Bolivia. These were all experiences I really enjoyed, so I don’t know why ‘teaching’ didn’t click with me sooner.

After travelling every chance I got during my university breaks, I realized that teaching ESL was a great way to live overseas, so I eventually enrolled in a TESL program in Toronto where I gained some experience teaching English to a mixture of exchange students and newly arrived immigrants – I loved it! That combined with a year teaching in Korea helped me realize that perhaps this wasn’t such a bad path after all.

Then last fall while travelling in Hong Kong, during a typhoon mind you, I had a bit of a serendipitous meeting. At the time I was debating, hmm, Masters? Education degree? What to do, what to do? That’s when I met Oneika, a fellow travel blogger who has been teaching her way around the world with stints in France, Mexico, England, Hong Kong…and I might be missing a few places. But anyway, we got to talking and it just clicked for me that the Bachelors of Education was the program I wanted to do.

So I submitted my applications while I was in Thailand, got the ‘yes’ while I was living in Berlin, and I cut my European trip short to come back to Canada.

Why the sense of urgency? Well, this is actually the last year that Canada is offering the Bachelor of Education as an 8-month program! After that it is shifting into a 2-year degree, and I just couldn’t imagine myself going back to school for 2 years! To say competition was rife this year would be an understatement; just a few weeks ago I found out that the acceptance rate for our program this fall was only 1 out of 10, so whenever I’m having a tough day at school I remind myself that I’m quite lucky to even be here at all.

So far the program has been going really well. It has been incredibly intense in terms of the workload (if I’m not posting as often here on the blog it’s because I’m writing essays and lesson planning), however, it has also been a lot of fun. I’ve been doing my practicum these past few weeks and the things that come out of kids’ mouths are hilarious.

Another reason that I’m pretty excited about this program is that I’m focusing on international education, which means this spring I’ll be completing a teaching placement overseas. Hooray for mixing studies with travel! I’ll let you know where I’m off to once everything is confirmed and the flights are booked, but here’s your hint: I’m looking south.

I’ve had a few people tell me, “Oh, you’re giving up the travel-blogging dream and the freedom to travel just to go back to school,” but I really don’t feel like I’m giving up either of those. I really see this program as a key to a whole new world of possibilities and it’s something that I’m really excited about. I’m not saying I’ll be jumping straight into a teaching contract right away – Sam and I already have some insane post-graduation travels planned for the spring – but it’s an option that I have whenever I’m ready to take the leap.

Now it’s your turn. 
What have you been up to this fall?