Applying to Teacher's College - Western University
By Waell Khalife
What inspired you to decide to go to Teacher’s College?
What inspired me to decide to apply to Teacher’s College was my involvement as a basketball coach for youths. Originally, I started coaching to get my volunteer hours to graduate high school. However, I developed a love for teaching over the past 7 years with the Milton Stags Basketball Club. For me, it’s about giving kids guidance and mentorship to achieve their dreams that I didn’t have during my playing days. I find teaching to be a fulfilling profession because I get to teach, help kids achieve their aspirations and succeed for a living every day.
What was the process like?
It depends on the school. Majority of schools will have an experience profile or form you have to fill out, which is not too bad. As long as you allocate an hour or so per experience profile that should be fine. However, when I applied for Western’s Bachelor of Education program, I did have to do the CASPer test and snapshot by Altus Suite. There are also different streams that you can apply for, such as Primary/Junior (Kindergarten to Grade 6) and Intermediate/Senior (Grade 7 to Grade 12). There are also different requirements for the streams. For the Primary/Junior stream, you don’t need to have a specific degree because no teachables are required. However, for the Intermediate/Senior stream, you need to have one or two teachables. Teachables are the subjects you are able to teach because you have taken a certain number of credits in your undergraduate education. I chose to apply for the Primary/Junior stream. You can also add teachables later, regardless of the Bachelor of Education program you graduated from.
What did you study in undergrad?
I studied Political Science and Criminology. However, I decided to change my career path in my last year of undergrad.
Have you had any interesting experiences?
I’ve been an assistant coach at the high school level, helping teenagers achieve their goals of playing post-secondary basketball. I also helped the Western University Varsity Men’s Basketball Team four out of my five years at Western, although my job did not entail teaching, but more so how to deal with multiple personalities on a regular basis everyday.
Are there any specialized tests or requirements that you needed to fulfill for Teacher’s College?
For the most part, no. However, most schools have an experience profile that you must fill out to consider your application to be complete. Western’s Bachelor of Education program required me to write the CASPer test, as well as complete Snapshot by Altus Suite. I would recommend preparing for the CASPer test about 8-10 weeks in advance to ensure you do well. There are also prep courses that you can take to prepare for the test. Snapshot was just a one-way interview. I was given three questions, and I was given two minutes to answer those questions. The maximum amount of time I had to finish the interview was 10 minutes.
Do you have any tips or guidance for those who want to become teachers?
Experience is huge. GPA is also important, but if you really want to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicant pool, experience is very important. It doesn’t have to be experience in the classroom, it can be coaching a youth sports team, helping with a non-profit organization, tutoring, etc. Additionally, networking is huge in this profession after graduation. Being involved in the basketball community in Ontario has allowed me to network with a lot of teachers in various areas and grade levels, especially in the Greater Toronto Area since most coaches are teachers. Lastly, I would say only apply to teaching college because you are passionate about teaching. I understand there’s a lot of educators out there that teach because it has great benefits and it pays well, but your main purpose should not be that. Your role as an educator is extremely important to youth and who they grow up to become. It is the greatest privilege to be able to shape the future of our society at a micro level, one person at a time.
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