To become an elementary teacher in Canada, you need a Bachelor Degree in Education with a focus on instruction and hands-on experience in classrooms. The cost varies from one institution to another and whether you will be living in residence or at home.
Financing Your College Education – Scholarships and Bursaries
If you have enough cash at your bank account, this is by far the best way to finance your college education. If you are like most young people, however, you are probably looking for low-cost financing, scholarships, and other options. The first thing to do is to shop around for scholarships and bursaries, and there are hundreds and thousands of them. Many universities offer in-course and entrance awards which are available to students in diploma, applied degree, and degree programs. The general criteria may include early admission, evidence of leadership, academic merit and excellence, and residency requirements. In some cases, universities offer nominated awards meaning that application is not required. Book prizes are also offered to students who show academic excellence in certain courses. Education bursaries are also an option, and assistance is offered based on financial need. Some Canadian universities offer education bursaries to students enrolled in the fourth, third, second, or first year of Bachelor of Education. You must be enrolled full-time to qualify. Some awards are only offered to students in their third and fourth year. Others are offered on the basis of academic achievement but there are other criteria to meet, including volunteer involvement in the community or in K-12 schools. Other awards are more specific and require a small portfolio of poems and a written essay on some genre, period, or poet.
Loans, Credit Cards, and Other Types of Financing
Even if you qualify for a scholarship or bursary, you may still need financing unless the award covers tuition, room and board, books and textbooks, etc. You may want to look into student loans first offered under government programs. They are available to part-time and full-time students in Canada but the application rules vary depending on your province of residence. You will be asked to submit certain documents along with your loan application, among which Student Financial Assistance Agreement, Certificate of Eligibility, proof of social insurance number, and a valid photo ID. This can be your employee identification card, certificate of Indian status, provincial health card, ID, etc. Another option is to apply for a private loan from your local credit union or bank but the rate will be higher compared to government-sponsored financial aid. There are other differences between government and private loans, one being that the former are more flexible. Another is that you start repaying the loan once you leave school or graduate. Private loans are offered by financial institutions, state agencies, and universities and are not subsidized meaning that you pay interest charges. Finally, one way to finance school-related purchases or occasional expenses is to apply for a low-cost student credit card (http://www.creditcardfaq.ca/). All big banks in Canada, small banks, credit unions, and many finance companies advertise credit cards (http://www.creditcardfaq.ca/credit-card-types/best-canadian-credit-cards) that are designed for students and may come with add-ons and incentives such as money back rewards, no annual fee, low interest charges, and many others.
If you consider working as an elementary teacher in Ontario, there are plenty of benefits to consider, including professional development days, vacation days, great retirement and health insurance packages, and a lot more. And this career path is ideal for young persons who are nurturing, dedicated, outgoing, team-oriented, organized, compassionate, and caring.
Educational Level Required
There are certain requirements to meet to become an elementary teacher in Ontario, including successful completion of a 1-year teacher education program, 3-year post secondary degree at an accredited institution of higher education, and application to the College for certification. If you are an internationally educated or out of province graduate, you are still required to become certified by the College. This is provided that you plan to teach at one of Ontario’s public schools. The first step to becoming an elementary teacher, however, is to get good grades in the liberal arts, science, and mathematics. It is also a good idea to gain experience working with kids. Check different faculty and university programs to find one that suits you best. There are different teacher education programs to look into – grades 11 – 12 or Senior, grades 7 – 10 or Intermediate, grades 4 – 6 or Junior, and kindergarten to grade 3 or Primary. While in college, you may want to specialize in one or several subjects, for example, math, science, history, or English. Teachers are certified to teach in public schools and teach subjects such as music, science, computers, physical education, math, art, and language or the so called traditional subjects. There are two types of certification – full and interim certification. There are upgrading opportunities as well offered in the form of language upgrading programs. In any case, new graduates need a teaching certificate to apply for a position.
Programs and Universities
Many Canadian universities have faculties of education, including Brock University, University of Toronto, Lakehead University, and University of Ottawa. Other universities also run their education programs, for example, Trent University, Queen’s University, and Western University, among others. Many faculties offer scholarships and grants based on experience and academic excellence. Students are offered courses such as classroom management, special education and inclusion, social foundations of education, safe schools, mental health literacy, and others. Field experiences and practicums are also offered, for example, alternative field experience, transition to professional practice, and others. Students are also free to choose from specialty courses such as teaching French immersion, social and emotional learning, research in international contexts, and many others. There are elective courses as well.
Teachers are free to join the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario which is a labor union established to represent occasional and elementary school teachers and to defend their interests and rights. The federation has some 76,000 members and is one of the leaders when it comes to equity issues.
Teaching positions are scarce, and reports show that about 38 percent of new college graduates are unemployed. Young professional face a tough season and years of student loans to repay. More than 50 percent of new graduates are forced to look for employment opportunities outside Ontario. The good news is that prospects are improving. Some specialties have better chances of employment, including computer studies, sciences, secondary math, and French. The reduced number of teachers in Ontario means that elementary teachers will be in demand in the future. Some college graduates begin their careers in supply or occasional teaching leading to permanent employment later on. Teachers in supply roles find themselves in permanent employment or long-term occasional employment in several years.