It's my Yi series, installment 3. Why am I a teacher? Ha. Funny story there. Here, I'll even give you a soundtrack for it: Click Here
WHY I: TEACH
Because I figured it's all I was good for.
Fair warning, this isn't going to be a very inspirational post. Bear with me as I recount my history, on the off chance you'll see a bit of yourself in parts of it.
I scored a 97 in OAC (Grade 13) Calculus and 98 in OAC Finite. Algebra and Geometry, euh, well, over 80. Damn vectors. So naturally I'm thinking Bachelor of Mathematics, major in Pure Maths. Second year University, I realize that's a bit too pure... I look for an out. Which I KNOW isn't Applied Math or Stats. (Yet now I teach stats.) Combinatorics is tempting, but I settle on Computer Science, my lowest mark in OAC. Go fig.
|...and then go ask the TA (Teaching Assistant).|
In fourth year, I take theoretical courses. You want a finite state machine? I got you covered. You want an operating system? Good luck with that. I'll sing you a sad song - I'm doing a music minor too. It's also in fourth year when I get my first real taste of teaching, hired on my co-op to be a TA for first year CS courses. Interesting. This, I think, I like.
I graduate after over five years (co-op and music extended the degree), using grad requirements from third year (another fun story), and start throwing resumes around. My parents helped with tips. In August 2001, the first positive response: I get hired to teach math and science to ESL students at a private school. Note I'm limited to the private sector, I do not have a teaching degree yet. And yes, my second week of classes (ever) in September 2001 was... interesting.
That year is what sort of crystallized things for me, made me certain I wouldn't be happy merely sitting behind a desk. There was even one girl I never taught, who was totally into anime, found out I was, and who used to come by my class. I also helped with yearbook. If you want, here's A DAY IN THE LIFE (2001 edition). In a sense, I saw the career as jack of all trades, master of none, which sums me up pretty well. So I applied for, and got into, Teacher's College. I still have a box of memorabelia from that school.
NO BACKUP PLAN
Came out of Teacher's College in 2003. Coincided very nicely with the elimination of OAC (Grade 13) and Ontario's double cohort graduation. Thus, there are no jobs. First extended occasional teaching in Spring 2004, in Tech. Not hired for continuation. Shorter stint in Fall 2004, maths. Then Spring 2005, my first extended occasional full semester maths timetable... 3M, 2P, 1P.
It killed me.
|WHAT AM I DOING?|
I cut and run.
I suspect that's where the story would end for most people.
Foolishly though, I really had no backup plan. As I said earlier, "master of none", so I didn't see myself as having employability in any other job. I went back on the supply teacher list. I got a day of work the following week. On that day, I had to break up a fight in my class. Not even kidding.
What. The. Hello.
Still, too late to reinvent myself, right? Keep going. Fall 2005. Not hired for anything. Again, I don't have anything else, unless RolePlay counts as a skill. Day of work here and there. And then, as tends to happen in my life, I snare a position because I had been the runner up interviewee, and the main guy had to go. This time (unlike in 2004) it led to a 0.33 contract for Fall 2006, literally about two weeks before the Board closed the door on new hires for something like two years.
By the way, the contract was in tech. I took an Additional Qualifications (AQ) course as a condition. I really have no desire to weld anything in my life ever again.
Fall 2007, a 0.66 contract, with some math. Fall 2008, full time. Still going today, all in maths.
TEACHER BY DEFAULT
Sometimes, that's what it feels like. So many teachers have grand stories of how they got into teaching, saying it was their calling, how the students make them want to come to work every day, and how it's changed their life. Which isn't to say there isn't any of that in me... yet it's more that teaching IS my life. My default. As I said in Yi, installment 2.
|At least I'm not a hologram, just a hologrami.|
If I wasn't teaching students, I'd probably be running tech seminars, or tutoring professionally, or editing stories, or doing whatever I could to pass my knowledge and experience on to other people. Because looking BACK at my life, I dare say I know just enough of everything to be able to push the rest of you forwards. Into the places that are beyond my reach.
That's why I teach.
I also find it a bit awkward when people ask me how long I've been teaching, because officially in 2008, my record had less than two years seniority. Soooo, since 2001, it's been seven years then...?
You may now wish to check out Why Did You Want To Be A Teacher, Sir for a much better account, by a different Mr. Taylor.