An ode to the passion to teach and the drive to find work
Today’s education marketplace can be frustrating for even the most persistent newly certified teachers. When the climb to full-time employment seems too steep, where do you go? Within, says the College’s Registrar.
by Michael Salvatori, OCT
WHEN YOUR DREAM OF BECOMING A teacher is met with the fog of an ever-tightening marketplace, when longer wait times for even occasional assignments becomes the norm, and when the prospect of off-shore employment makes you rethink your Ontario residency, remember what’s in your heart.
Avryl Jeffrey, OCT, and Megan Lynch, OCT, do. So do hundreds of competent, caring and qualified teachers just like them.
Trying to find a job as a teacher these days—as our latest Transition to Teaching report (p. 49) shows—is every bit as taxing and challenging as acquiring the qualifications to become certified. Still, hundreds of people continue to wait, in some cases years, to land that all-important first full-time position.
Avryl graduated from Queen’s four years ago and was happy to land on the supply list of a Greater Toronto Area school board. It would lead to a full-time job, she was told. As yet, that job hasn’t materialized, and the supply work has dropped off. She’s had to make ends meet with a second job, managing tutors.
Hundreds of people continue to wait to land that all-important first full-time position. They have a drive to teach that keeps them motivated. They have an inner strength to pursue a dream, despite the obstacles.
“I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs and have had lots of interviews,” she says. “I’ve been told that I’m a good teacher but lack experience.” Avryl doesn’t let the experience of looking get her down. Certified to teach at the primary/junior and secondary levels, she works in a variety of schools, meeting new people, taking notes, and learning all she can from other teachers, all to prepare for the day she has a classroom to call her own.
“Teaching is what I want to do,” she says. “I’ve known it from a very young age. I’ll keep persevering. I’ve worked hard to get my qualifications. Eventually, something will come.” Staying positive can sometimes be a job in itself. “Having a really good day supply teaching helps,” Avryl says.
Megan graduated from Brock in 2008 and has been supply teaching for four years in the Hamilton area.
“Getting to know the principals, other teachers, and students at select schools is probably my best hope for securing an LTO or probationary,” she says. “I’ve been told many times that the odds are highly stacked against me with no prior LTO experience, even in applying for an LTO(!), which is difficult to do without getting to start somewhere.”
In the meantime, she’s completed four Additional Qualification courses, “all highly recommended, practical and supposedly look-fors on resumés.” To keep from getting frustrated, Megan focuses on her goals, talks with the staff she supply teaches alongside, tries to get on a first-name basis with principals, maintains a positive outlook and keeps busy doing what makes her happy in her career and life.
Their stories are strikingly similar and, unfortunately, all too common. Uncommonly, they possess indomitable spirits. They have a drive to teach that keeps them motivated and active in the search. They have a strength that comes from within to pursue a dream, despite the obstacles. For them, for many, and for me, teaching is a calling. I am grateful to be employed in this great profession. I hope that Avryl and Megan too get to live their passions soon and that the voice that calls them to the profession never grows dim.