Summer and winter holidays, good pay and a robust benefits package, all with a workplace dynamic that primetime TV dramas are made of… These are often the first things to pop into people’s minds when they think of the teaching profession.
But how does reality stack up? We caught up with one Ontario-certified teacher to talk finances, moving for your career and teaching in the midst of a global pandemic.
The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
What inspired you to go into teaching?
What’s the teacher education and training process been like for you?
Note: Prior to 2015, teacher’s college was a one-year programme. That has since been modified to two-years for a Bachelor of Education. Both programmes require teacher candidates to complete a set number of hours in an unpaid practicum, teaching in classrooms under the mentorship of a host teacher.
How did you end up teaching in Ontario’s Waterloo region?
Once teachers lay their roots in a region, they often stay there, building seniority within their region-specific board and union (for example, Halton District School Board, Toronto District School Board, etc.).
What are some of the biggest challenges of being a teacher?
How has it been teaching during the pandemic?
What are the hours like for a teacher?
What coping strategies do you tap into when stress levels go up?
Any tips and tricks for managing that work-life balance?
How has remaining child-free impacted your career?
What should would-be teachers consider before pursuing a career in teaching?
Do you rent or own your home?
What’s your biggest expense? “The mortgage.”
Can you say a bit more about that? “So our price point [when looking for a house several years ago] was $385,000. So the mortgage is like $1,350 monthly. My partner is a [trades] apprentice, and his income significantly varies. And he spent like 10-11 months of the last year unemployed. He did have [Employment Insurance], but we made sure that when we purchased our home, we could carry it on a single income. That was part of our agreement. Like if I’m saying, ‘Hey honey, I’m making you quit your stable job, come and follow my dream,’ then everything we do we have to try to live within our means.”