To become a teacher, the first thing you’ll need to get is a university degree in education. The Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), an organization that accredits education programs throughout Ontario, Canada, recommends you follow five steps to become a teacher:
• Get a well-rounded high school education, including good marks in mathematics, science and liberal arts.
• Get experience working with children.
• Decide what level and subject you’d like to teach. Explore the university and faculty programs to see which suit you.
• Earn a postsecondary degree in education. To teach grades 7 through 10, you need to qualify as an expert in one subject. To teach grades 11 and 12, you must be qualified to teach two subjects.
• Apply to become a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. Your registration with the College is your license to teach in publicly funded schools in Ontario.
Catherine Taylor, a third-year education major, is preparing to become a teacher. “The education department sets up several internships for us to complete before we even get to our student teaching semester,” Taylor says. That experience helps her get a feel for how kids are different at various ages. “Each grade level is so different and can bring so many different personalities and perspectives to the classroom,” she says.
To get more experience outside of the classroom, find some type of work that allows you to teach others. For the past six years, Taylor has worked at a church day camp. “Working at the camp has only made my decision to become a teacher stronger,” she says. “It is so rewarding to help a child succeed and to see the difference you have made.”
Besides earning a degree and getting experience, future teachers also need to pass a certification exam. Because each province has different teacher preparation requirements, it is important to research the standards you must meet in order to teach in the province you’re considering. Do you need a master’s degree? If you’re certified to teach in one place, will you be certified in another? How many hours of student teaching must you complete?
Check out the Ministry of Education’s Web site at www.edu.gov.on.ca for answers to these questions as well as other tips and helpful links.