My family moved to Ontario from a beautiful small town in Quebec when I was nine years old. Having to learn English quickly was a huge adjustment. Luckily for me, numbers are a universal language, so I continued to excel at Math. After my high school graduation, I was accepted into UTSC for the Early Teacher Program. I’ve had a passion for teaching since an early age, and had been tutoring my peers in high-school calculus and algebra. I planned to focus on Math, and make it one of my teachables.
As many first-year students likely discover, high-school aptitude in a subject doesn't necessarily guarantee success at university. I needed a new plan. It hadn't really occurred to me to focus on French, but in spite of my reservations I was growing more and more interested in the French Linguistics electives I was taking. My professors were engaged and motivating, and the course content was surprisingly new to me. Although Math didn’t turn out to be the right major for me, learning to refocus, make a new plan and move forward was a valuable life-lesson.
I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from university, an accomplishment I am extremely proud of. It was always a priority for me to gain as much education as I could, so when one of my professors encouraged me to enroll in the Master's program, I jumped at the opportunity. In a way, I was completing those degrees for my parents, as well as for myself. I earned my Masters of Arts in French Linguistics at U of T, and enrolled in the PhD program.
Two years into my doctorate, I was lecturing undergrad courses at UTSC. While it was incredibly self-affirming to be back at my alma mater, I knew deep down that it wasn't exactly the right fit. I applied to Trent University and graduated with my Bachelor of Education. On a typical day, I command several classrooms of 28 high school students. In all honestly, it's more challenging than teaching a lecture hall of 50 undergrads, but it's incredibly rewarding.
My personal experience learning English as a second language helps me identify with my students, and makes me extremely patient.The best part of teaching is guiding young minds and helping them shape their futures. For me, that never gets old. Every day is an adventure, and I wouldn't be where I am now without the fantastic friends, professors and mentors I met at UTSC.
If you're currently considering the applying to the French program, or becoming a teacher, I say go for it! Give it everything you’ve got, and you will be rewarded daily by your interactions with your students. And if you don’t enjoy it, it’s okay to change your mind and find your true passion.